This journey will take you to several significant places in the city that feature some experiences and aspects of the life of South Africa’s beloved Nelson Mandela.

This journey traces the footsteps of a remarkable man through our beautiful city.

Discover our history whilst getting a glimpse into his values, beliefs and ideals which have made him the worldwide icon he is today.

Vision – Klapperkop

Our journey begins near Fort Klapperkop, which offers a spectacular 180-degree view of the Capital City. Now a museum, it was built as one of 4 forts to protect the city from attack, just before the outbreak of the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902). Although there is no direct association between this site and the life of Nelson Mandela, this fort embodies his vision for a unified nation at peace with itself.

Education – University of South Africa (UNISA)

Mandela was known as a great advocate of education as a means to uplift and empower oneself. Our second stop on Klapperkop affords an unobstructed view of the UNISA, South Africa’s largest correspondence university. Nelson Mandela began his studies for a Bachelor of Arts Degree at the University College of Fort Hare but did not complete the degree there, as he was expelled for joining in a student protest. He completed his BA through UNISA and went back to Fort Hare for his graduation in 1943. In 1989, while in the last months of his imprisonment, he obtained an LLB, also through UNISA. He graduated in absentia at a ceremony in Cape Town.

Tolerance – Voortrekker Monument

Although an icon of the old South Africa, it also symbolises that which Mandela fought against. It is also a symbol of his support of the fair and equal treatment of all people, and his determination to include all South Africans in building a better future, irrespective of their background, culture, race or gender.

Forgiveness – The Reconciliation Road

It opened on 16 December 2011 and the road is a link between the Voortrekker Monument and the Freedom Park. The Reconciliation Road is a symbol of forgiveness, reconciliation and nation building. One of the greatest triumphs this country has ever seen was the peaceful end to white minority rule and the transition to a free and democratic South Africa. Mandela’s efforts lay at the heart of this transition, and he, together with then President FW de Klerk jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

Commemoration – Freedom Park

In 1999, Nelson Mandela proclaimed that; “The day should not be far off, when we shall have a people’s shrine, a freedom park, where we shall honour with all the dignity they deserve, those who endured pain so we should experience the joy of freedom.” The intent of the Freedom Park was to embody this vision. Begun in 2000, the park is a direct response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions’ call for new symbols to resolve past conflicts.

Humanity – The Gallows

Mandela held the highest regard for the humanity of all people and felt that all should be treated with the same level of respect and dignity. This is where many convicts faced execution before South Africa’s Constitutional Court abolished the death penalty in 1995. The Correctional Services Museum allows for an insight into South African Prison Life. Artworks by prisoners as well as exhibits such as knives concealed in Bibles and shoes, files in cakes etc. are on display.

Resilience – Palace of Justice

It was here that Nelson Mandela and his eight co-defendants were tried at the famous Rivonia Trial in 1964. At the trail, Mandela gave his defence speech from the dock, which lasted 5 hours. This speech remains one of the most powerful in modern history, and is known throughout the world. It is widely believed that it is this speech prompted the State to change the sentence of those convicted from the death penalty to life imprisonment.

Courage – The Old Synagogue

It was purchased by the government in 1952 for use as a courtroom. It is here that Mandela was tried along with others in the marathon Treason Trial that stretched from 1958-1961. Throughout this trial, and in his many years of imprisonment that followed the Rivonia Trial, Mandela never wavered in his devotion to democracy, equality and learning.

Triumph – Union Buildings

This is the official seat of government in South Africa. It is also the site of President Mandela’s inauguration on the 10th of May 1994, which was met with great jubilation and excitement. This great triumph for democracy saw the dawn of a new era in South Africa where people of all races joined in the celebration to welcome Tata Madiba into power. The memorial service held for Nelson Mandela on 10 December 2013 was one of the largest gatherings of heads of state in the history of the world. Late in 2013, the amphitheatre at the heart of the Buildings was renamed the Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre.

Hope – South African National Archive

It houses the transcripts from the Rivonia Treason Trial, as well as the original manuscript of Mandela’s autobiography “The long walk to freedom.” These may be viewed upon request.

Humility – Mahlamba Ndlopfu

Mahlamba Ndlopfu is the Official Residence for the President of the Republic of South Africa in the capital city. Mahlamba Ndlopfu is a Shangaan term that means “the new dawn”. It was changed in 1995, after the inauguration of
Mandela as president. Located on the Bryntirion Estate, it was the home of Mandela from1994 – 1999.

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