What’s up at the Alexandra Precinct?
We know of many attractions out there celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela and key events of his life, like little pieces of history everywhere. Now another piece has been turned into a heritage precinct. Nelson Mandela lived in Alexandra when he first came to Johannesburg in the early 1940s.
The Nelson Mandela Yard Interpretation Centre is an interactive exhibition depicting the story of the people and events that shaped Alexandra over 100 years. The centre includes some restaurants, post office and retail outlets. Locals get to sell their handcrafted goods and mementoes at the retail stores, opening a vast number of opportunities for the local community. The building sits directly across from where Madiba lived and some of the yards surrounding his room is included in the precinct.
Famous jazz performer, Hugh Masekela also lived in this township. This site was declared a heritage site when they started building it in 2004. This project was funded by the Gauteng Tourism Authority, Department of Environmental Affairs and tourism, and the Alexandra Renewal Project. Not only did the create a stunning piece of Nelson Mandela’s history and life, the project also created jobs in construction and more in the precinct itself.
The project embodies Madiba and what he stood for as this project helped develop Alexandra as a tourist attraction with 25 sites around the township, all marked with information boards. Tourists can go on a Heritage Tour Route where they will also get to see:
Schools and houses
The family home of first lady, Zanele Mbeki
The Juskei River
The Alexandra Beer hall
Churches such as St Hubert’s Catholic Church and the Twelve Apostles Church in Africa
The Alexandra Clinic
Last year the project was nearing completion so it’s a lovely, fresh and new place to explore another puzzle piece of Nelson Mandela’s past.