This month, we as South Africans and people around the world will celebrate the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela. He was crucial in liberating our country and establishing democracy. Madiba was also known for his love, support, and selflessness.
International Mandela Day takes place every year on 18th July (Madiba’s birthday). But what is the significance of it? For some, it means dedicating 67 minutes to a selfless deed, for others, it’s just a day off from work! However, we can ALL heed the call to do something and recognize our individual power to make a difference and change the world.
Make this Mandela Day memorable by exploring the incredible historical sites all around South Africa. From the exquisite architectural design of the Capture Site to the famous Robben Island to Mandela’s Cave Hideout and City Hall where he gave his first speech after his release, these sites are an integral part of South Africa’s story.
Whether you plan a long weekend away or stay in your province, there are parts of our country’s history all around us just waiting for you to discover. Go out, find them, and give them the recognition and appreciation they deserve! Plus, take the kids along for the historical trip down memory lane.
Nelson Mandela Capture Site – Howick
This is the spot where Madiba was captured by Apartheid police on 5 August 1962 after being on the run for over a year.
They seem like a random collection of columns until you get to the footpath 35 meters away when Madiba’s profile facing West magically appears – against the backdrop of the rolling hills and valleys of the KwaZulu Natal Midlands. As you get even closer to the monument, the columns once again dissolve into a forest.
On your way from Durban to stay at Midlands Saddle and Trout or Whispering Waters, stop at the Capture Site in Howick. Stand in awe as you reflect on the events that unfolded in this very spot, 60 years ago.
Robben Island & Robben Island Museum – Cape Town
“A symbol of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity.”
Explore the island on which Mandela was held captive for 18 years.
Take a scenic boat ride across the Atlantic Ocean and go on a guided tour of Robben Island. Walk in the footsteps of those who came before us, liberating South Africa.
Stay at Riviera Suites, just a 15-minute drive from the Robben Island Museum and the ferry which will take you to the Island. Plus, grab a coffee from the resort’s Jooma Coffee Shop and pop in at V&A Waterfront for some shopping. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out Nelson Mandela’s statue standing alongside Desmond Tutu, FW de Klerk, and Albert Luthuli.
City Hall – Cape Town
Nelson Mandela stood on the balcony here and gave his first speech, hours after his release, to thousands of people. A life-size statue of him overlooks the Grand Parade from the balcony of the City Hall, standing in the same place where he spoke from.
Enjoy the picturesque Table Mountain backdrop as you explore City Hall in the heart of the Mother City.
Be sure to stay nearby at Mount Sierra or Hastings Hall, both just 10 minutes from Cape Town City Hall. Grab a light pastry and a cup of tea at Mount Sierra Coffee Shop or discover lovely street cafés along the way.
Mandela Cave Hideout –Coffee Bay
This is a lesser known, albeit historical spot in Coffee Bay. If you’re into discovering hidden gems, this is for you.
This glorious landmark, named after the late, great Mandela, is nestled in lush greenery on the shores of the beautiful Indian ocean.
If you’re staying at Hole in the Wall, take a 30-minute scenic drive along the coast to the Mandela Cave Hideout. Hike down to the cave and explore an awesome part of our history.
These sites are just a drop in the ocean, as there are so many other magnificent places to discover that make up a part of South Africa’s history. We are blessed to live in a country with a rich history and incredible landmarks to visit to this day.
As Mandela himself said, “When we read, we are able to travel to many places, meet many people and understand the world. We can also learn how to deal with problems we are having by learning from the lessons of the past.”
Have a happy Madiba month, everyone!