Mandela Capture Site
"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."— Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
The Mandela Sculpture
Why is the Mandela Capture Site Historically Important?
It was on this stretch of road on the 5th August in 1962 that Nelson Mandela was arrested. It was the last time he would be a free man until his release from prison in 1992.
It was the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela that ended up becoming a rallying point for anti-apartheid activists all over the world. Although a number of other activists were also imprisoned, the world warmed to Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and cried out against the injustice of imprisoning a man for twenty-seven years.
It can be said that by imprisoning Madiba, the apartheid government made him infinitely more powerful - I believe that his imprisonment directly led to the downfall of apartheid in South Africa.
Get to the Right Spot to See the Face
Why is the Mandela Capture Site is Worth a Visit
The museum building is currently closed because it is being upgraded. It is said that these renovations will be completed by the end of August 2016. You can still visit the sculpture, you just need to enter at the first parking lot on the left, rather than the main parking lot.
The museum is interesting to visit but the real star of the show is the sculpture - a collaborative effort between Marco Cianfanelli and Jeremy Rose. It consists of 50 steel columns significantly acknowledging the 50th anniversary of the capture of Nelson Mandela.
it is made up of 50 steel columns which vary in height from 6 metres to 9.5 metres.
The real beauty of the sculpture lies in the fact that you can only see the picture if you are standing in the right spot - in fact, the sculpture caused a lot of consternation amongst locals, myself included, who just couldn't see "The Face" because we all looked from the road.
The optimal spot is about 35 metres from the sculpture and is marked by the inaugural plaque.
The site was inaugurated in August of 2012 by President Jacob Zuma
There is also a delightful restaurant on site and several little shops selling souvenirs and locally-produced crafts.
The Sculpture Plaque
What Madiba Meant to Me
When I was growing up in South Africa, the ANC was still classified as a "terrorist organization". We had bomb drills at school and I remember often being kept at home by my mom on June 16th - the anniversary of the Soweto Uprising.
Aside from that, growing up I didn't really know much about Madiba at all. It was really only at his release in 1992 that I actually first saw a picture of him. I still remember us watching Tata walking out of Diepkloof prison. For most white South Africans, it was a day that we were dreading - there was a lot of concern that the country would fall into a civil war.
Then we actually started to get to know Tata - this "dangerous" terrorist, who had been imprisoned for 27 years, came out of prison without any trace of bitterness. He addressed a gathering of youth and told them to take their pangas, knives, and guns and to throw them into the sea.
But where we really started to know Tata was when he became president - it quickly became clear that he wanted peace and reconciliation for all South Africans. He worked tirelessly to rescue the economy and to improve the living conditions of the poor.
He said, “Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is people who have made poverty and tolerated poverty, and it is people who will overcome it. And overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.”
He had an especially soft spot for children. In fact, in an act unprecedented and not repeated since, he donated half of his salary as president to the Nelson Mandela Children's fund.
For me, Madiba was an inspiration - almost a living saint - even though he referred to himself as a sinner. Not a hint of scandal ever reached this man and he really led by example. It is an example that I would hope to live up to but do not think that I could ever completely match - what an exceptional life.
Reading "The Long Walk to Freedom", written by the man himself, is a great way to get to know the man. It portrays a humble but deeply wise man. A man that held that the dignity of each person is an integral human right - not a luxury.
My favorite part of the book was the early section where he talked about growing up in Qunu. His granddaughter said, at his funeral, that the family would miss his stories about his childhood and, having read the book, I can see why. He was a great storyteller.
Get your own copy of "A Long Walk to Freedom" here
A Quick Test to See if you were Paying Attention
Mandela was arrested in
Reaching for the Sky
Tour of the Site
Where in the world is the Mandela Monument?
"A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination."— Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
South Africans Mourn the Death of Nelson Mandela
There has never, in the history of the world, been such an outpouring of grief. Not since Princess Diana died has the world grieved as much. South Africans have been leaving tributes at Madiba's old Soweto home and at various sites across the country.
Books for messages of condolence have been set up in various locations - municipal offices, historical sites, and even at various supermarkets and businesses around the country.
People have taken great comfort in being able to say goodbye to one of their heroes and have left a lot of touching messages.
The basic feeling at the moment in South Africa, on this day of Madiba's funeral, is one of sadness. At the same time, it is a celebration of a life well lived, a full life and one that made a global impact.
We will never forget you, Tata.
South Africans pay Tribute to Nelson Mandela
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."— Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
The Old and New Monuments for the Mandela Capture Site
The original monument at the capture site was across the road and was fairly small and insignificant. I remember seeing it the first time and thinking, "Is that all there is to it?"
The new Site is a much better tribute. The sculpture is the largest of its type in South Africa and you can actually embark on your own "Long Walk to Freedom."
There are also facilities on hand at the new site.
The new Capture Site is in the process of some exciting developments - An amphitheatre and multi-purpose theatre, as well as a craft hub, is planned - all will help boost the local economy and provide work, in line with Madiba's goals for the country.
The Old Monument
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”— Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela