Remembering Nelson Mandela
July is known as the month to commemorate our late beloved leader, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
Nelson Mandela is not only celebrated locally but internationally as well.
Let’s have a look at the places that narrate his heroism and his life.
1. Constitutional Hill: Johannesburg
An animated museum that tells the story of South Africa’s journey to democracy, the site is a former prison and military camp. There’s probably no other site of incarceration in South Africa that imprisoned renowned men and women as those held within the walls of Old Fort, The Women’s Jail and Number 4. Those men and women happened to be the comrades of Nelson Mandela: Joe Slovo, Mahatma Ghandi, Albertina Sisulu, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Fatima Meer. They all served time here.
The Constitutional Hill offers tours of the precinct and conduct regular public events, the events provide visitors from all walks of life to interact.
When you find yourself visiting there, do us a favour and touch their textured walls, read their graffiti and listen to their echoes. A basic place to visit but also one of the detailed ways to get know Mandela.
2. Robben Island
Home to the infamous prison where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison, along with 3000 other political prisoners during their fight against apartheid. The very same political prisoners were required to work in harsh conditions; as a result they constructed the prison gate, with stone from one of two quarries from the island.
All tours on the island are conducted by ex-prisoners. Your tour will end at the iconic cell of Nelson Mandela.
Talk about reliving history.
3. Mandela House Museum: Soweto
Vilakazi Street is not only known for the Hector Pietersen memorial but it is famous for having been the home of Nelson Mandela.
He lived in 8115, Vilakazi Street, Soweto on and off for 14 years and for 12 of those years, he lived with his first wife Evelyn. In his autobiography, The Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela recounts coming to this house 1990, upon his release after 27 years in prison: “That night I returned with Winnie [his then-wife] to No. 8115 in Orlando West. It was only then that I knew in my heart I had left prison. For me No. 8115 was the centre point of my world, the place marked with an X in my mental geography.
This remarkable house has been established as one South Africa’s significant heritage sites because it tells the story, in sound, film and illustrative ways and guided tours, of the Mandela family during the apartheid era and beyond.
You can still walk around the interior of the house as before, though now there is a narrative element to your experience, it is augmented by the addition of the visitor staff. Do note that the staff only accommodates 20 visitors.
Adapted from: South Africa: The Mandela House, Soweto
Greyhound offers a luxury coach service to Johannesburg from various destinations in South Africa. Go someplace special this Mandela Day. Book your Greyhound bus ticket.