Nelson Mandela

Robben Island is home to the Cape Town’s highest earners. Image : Stockphoto

Nelson Mandela Centenary: Six places to visit that are connected to Madiba’s legacy

If you want to learn more about Nelson Mandela and his fascinating story, here six places of important historical significance to Madiba and his fight for freedom.

Nelson Mandela

Robben Island is home to the Cape Town’s highest earners. Image : Stockphoto

This year, 2018, marks the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela. Born on 18 July, this month presents an opportunity for both South Africans and the international community to celebrate the legacy of Madiba.

In honour of Mandela’s revolutionary spirit and his undying quest for knowledge, we have compiled a list of six South African places to visit that are intrinsically connected to the great liberator and his fascinating journey.

Read: Nelson Mandela Centenary: How the world will celebrate the big occasion

These areas associated with Madiba form pieces of a historical puzzle, pieced together through struggle and determination, revealing a portrait of truth and its freedom.

From humble beginnings as a cowherd working the vast grasslands of the rural Eastern Cape, where Madiba learnt patience and resolve as a child, developing into a proud and honest servant of the struggle in his later life. The landscape of South Africa is dotted with pockets of grace, inhabited and touched by Madiba’s legacy.

Six places to visit in celebration of Nelson Mandela’s 100

Qunu, Eastern Cape

Mandela grew up in the rural hamlet of Qunu, where he spent his days tending to his family’s livestock. There is a steep, smooth rock which the young Mandela often played on as a child. This landmark is accessible to visitors, and although the Nelson Mandela Museum in Qunu is modest, it is still worth the visit.

Mandela House, Orlando West, Soweto

The famous home of South Africa’s struggle icon is situated on the corner of Vilikazi and Ngakane Street in Soweto. Although Mandela felt a great sense of pride and accomplishment in owning his first home, the revolutionary spent much of his time away from Soweto.

Between his active involvement in the liberation struggle, and his constant flight from Apartheid police forces, Madiba wasn’t able to spend much time at his home.

Liliesleaf Farm, Rivonia

Lilliesleaf Farm operated as a safe house for the leadership of the ANC’s armed wing in the 1960’s. Under the alias David Motsamayi, Mandela hid in plain sight, posing as a gardener and caretaker. The property was purchased using funds from the South African Communist Party.

Rivonia is now an affluent suburb, and the property boasts an extensive display of important archives and artefacts, as well as educational materials.

Nelson Mandela capture Site, KwaZulu-Natal

A long stretch of road near Howick, in the picturesque KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, is of particular historical significance to the Mandela story. This is where Madiba was captured by Apartheid police in 1962, arrested even though disguised as a chauffeur; the freedom fighter was travelling to an ANC meeting.

The monument located at the capture sight consists of 50 steel columns, nearly 10m high, which when viewed from a specific angle reveal a portrait of Mandela.

Robben Island

A South African National Heritage Site as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Robben Island may be the most iconic and heart-breaking landmark related to Madiba’s struggle.

The island situated in Table Bay, 6.9 kilometres west of the coast of Bloubergstrand, is where Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison.

During his time on the island, Mandela was allowed one half-hour visit a year and could write and receive one letter every six months.

Union Buildings

A central figure of the South African government, it’s also the site of Mandela’s inauguration as South Africa’s first democratically elected president on May 10th, 1994.

Master architect, Sir Herbert Baker, designed the structure, known for its grandiose features, curved amphitheatre and domed towers.

The buildings are also home to a nine-metre bronze statue of Mandela which was unveiled the day after his funeral in 2013.