Following in the footsteps of an iconic leader
New Delhi, July 18 (IANSlife) All across the magnificent nation of South Africa, are written tales of freedom and lessons of liberty. Nelson Mandela, an influential political leader who went on to become the first non-white president in South African history, was at the forefront of this freedom struggle. From serving 27 years in prison to working as a philanthropist, his life was legendary, to say the least. The 'Gandhi of the African continent has received, and rightfully so, more than 250 honours including The Nobel Peace Prize and the Bharat Ratna.
The Rainbow Nation continues to celebrate his life 104 years later, and encourages residents and visitors to do the same through art, culture, sports, heritage, and more importantly, social inclusion. As the world honours this great revolutionary every 18th of July, by commemorating International Mandela Day, history and travel buffs can follow in Mandela's footsteps by participating in the below tours.
Each of these tours offers deeper insights into the life and times of Nelson Mandela, who is a testament to the power of the human spirit. Madiba, as he is fondly known, showcases the ability of a single individual to change the course of history with grit, determination, and standing up for what is right.
Nelson Mandela spent 18 immensely challenging years in prison on this little island situated off the coast of Cape Town and yet emerged from it filled with forgiveness instead of hatred. Robben Island is now a World Heritage site and museum. Although from the 17th to the 20th century the island was a place of imprisonment - today it is a beacon of hope and a place where visitors can gain some insight into the life and times of Nelson Mandela and fellow freedom fighters.
Apartheid - a system of institutionalized racial segregation and discrimination, had infiltrated every nerve of the country. These dogmas (or the resistance towards them) helped shape Mandela's entire life and nowhere can you get a better grip on what transpired during the proceeding struggle than at the Apartheid Museum, situated south of Johannesburg. The Apartheid Museum opened in 2001 and is acknowledged throughout the world for its illustrious display of the rise and fall of Apartheid. Allow yourself at least a couple of hours to soak it all in, and get over an emotional yet interactive and informative visit.
This site has enormous significance in the history of the freedom struggle because it was here that, after 17 months if evading the apartheid authorities, Nelson Mandela was arrested. On 5th August 1962, the police flagged down a car driven by Nelson Mandela in a chauffer's uniform while he was returning from a secret meeting with the African National Congress president - this incident would go on to shape the future of an entire country. To mark the historic spot is a sculpture comprising 50 steel rods, that align to create a magnificent portrait of Mandela.
Situated in Vilakazi Street, the humble home Mandela moved into in 1946, the Mandela House gives visitors great insight into the Mandela family. "It was the opposite of grand," he wrote in his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, "but it was my first true home of my own and I was mightily proud." The house is filled with memorabilia about the family, complete with photographs and visuals, and is a fitting tribute to the incredible struggle for freedom. Vilakazi Street is usually flooded with visitors wanting a glimpse into the home of the great Madiba - hence getting an early start to this place might be a good idea.