South Africa has a fascinating, yet turbulent history – and there a number of places to visit across the country where local and international visitors can learn more about our past…
On 5 August 1962 in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, apartheid police stopped a car driven by Nelson Mandela. He’d been on the run for 17 months and was returning from a secret meeting with African National Congress (ANC) President Chief Albert Luthuli. To mark the spot is a sculpture comprising 50 steel rods that make up Mandela’s face, designed by prolific artist and sculpture Marco Cianfelli.
Vilakazi Street, Soweto
The most famous street in Soweto, Vilakazi Street is the only one in the world that’s had two Nobel Peace Prize winners as residents – Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Visit Mandela House museum and why not stop in at Sakhumzi Restaurant for a beer – or a traditional “kasi” meal. Vilakazi Street is within walking distance of the famous Hector Pieterson Museum (another unique attraction where you can further explore the back story of South Africa).
Phoenix Settlement, Durban
Situated in Inanda, outside Durban, the Phoenix Settlement is part of KwaZulu-Natal’s Inanda Heritage Route. Gandhi lived here with his family and it was here that he produced the weekly Indian Opinion newspaper from the International Printing Press (the old printing press building still stands today, although the original family home was destroyed in a fire). Stroll through the makeshift museum that celebrates his life and principles of satyagraha (“peaceful or passive resistance”).
The Apartheid Museum:
The Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg shows the life and times of people living under apartheid in South Africa – and examines many of the hardships of daily life, as well as shining a spotlight on struggle heroes, such as Nelson Mandela. This world-class museum is a must-see for anyone who’s searching for deeper insight into the Struggle era – and features interactive exhibitions, documentaries and memorabilia.
Robben Island, Cape Town
Robben Island is where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years in jail with fellow struggle heroes, such as Ahmed Kathrada, Govan Mbeki and Walter Sisulu. Take the ferry from the V&A Waterfront to the island where a guide will take you around this notorious prison and surrounding attractions, including a visit to Madiba’s cell.
South African Tourism has developed two fantastic websites dedicated to the tourist attractions relating to the life and times of Mahatma Ghandi (Ghandi in South Africa) and Nelson Mandela (Madiba’s Journey) – complete with interactive maps and fascinating information.