Although the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro is named after South Africa’s first post Apartheid president and a world icon, the city does not have a proper Madiba statue for visitors and tourists to visit. Because of this the Route 67 Madiba figure on the Donkin Reserve has become a must stop for especially international visitors
Naval Hill in Bloemfontein has always been a beacon in the Free State capitol and known for the magnificent views of the surrounding city. In 2012 an eight meter tall bronze sculpture, made by the same sculptor as the one standing in Mandela Square in Sandton, was revealed. Last year during the #MeetSouthAfrica bloggers trip before Indaba, the one group spent a night in Bloem and visited Naval Hill at sunset. The pictures they posted were stunning. I also got to spend a night in Bloem on my way to Jozi earlier in the year and wanted to do the same. Unfortunately it was cloudy which meant the sunset wasn’t going to be as spectacular and I decided not to stick around, but sharing the view with Madiba was still special.
I got to slide down the sliding rock at Qunu where Madiba and his friends (as well as many local kids before and after him) played as children. Some of you seem confused so let me explain.
On a recent trip up the Wild Coast
I stopped at the Nelson Mandela Museum in Qunu and was taken on a tour by one of the guides. Part of the tour takes one about 200 meters away from the museum buildings to a couple of granite rocks on the side of the hill on which the museum is situated. It was on these rocks that local kids, including Mandela himself, came to play. Back then the kids would slide down the rock sitting on pieces of wood or whatever object they could find that would slide across the rock. While walking down I wondered why the guide was carrying the plastic seat section of a chair (like the ones we used to sit on during assembly at school). The answer came very quickly as he demonstrated before handing me the seat. It was time to slide. At first you wonder if you would actually be able to go down on the seat and the next moment you’ve got to throw out anchors cause that rock is a lot smoother than you think. It may not be able to compete with “adrenalin activities” like zip lining or kloofing, but the experience is just as memorable because of where you do it. I can imagine a couple of boys going home with bruised knees and toes after a day at the sliding rock though.
For years now people have wondered what will happen if Nelson Mandela had to die. Many hoped that they would never have to see the day and that Madiba will live forever. But he was just a man after all. Not an ordinary man though. A very special man. Many white (sic) people saw him as a terrorist as he fought for the freedom of this country. I say this country because although the fight against Apartheid was seen by many as the fight of the black people, it was a fight to free all people. In his defence statement during the Rivonia Trail in 1964 (also repeated during the closing of his speech delivered in Cape Town on the day he was released from prison 27 years later, on 11 February 1990) Mandela said, “I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for, and to see realised. But my Lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” That said it all, but he continued that ideal and led South Africa peacefully into democracy. Face it, he could have been bitter about spending 27 years in jail and the whole thing could have turned very ugly if it wasn’t for this man. Clearly he wasn’t a terrorist but a freedom fighter. One who preached peace over violence. That is what made him so special in the eyes of the world.
So here we are this morning, waking up to the news of the passing of this great man. Life goes on, but with something missing. I should actually say someone, because the ideals of Madiba should never dissapear. It is something this country should build on. I salute you Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. Our beloved Madiba. Born, 18 July 1918. Died, 5 December 2013. Rest in peace Madiba. I salute you.
The picture is the fist of the Madiba figure
on the Donkin Reserve in Port Elizabeth, triumphantly punching in the air. A salute of honour on this day.
Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton City must be one of the most popular attractions in Johannesburg. Everybody seems to stop at Sandton City to go shopping and then make sure that they swing by Madiba’s statue for a picture. On a busy day its actually quite difficult to get a pic of the statue without anybody next to it. I’ve posted about Nelson Mandela Square before (2008
), but on my last visit to Johannesburg I couldn’t help but to snap a couple more pictures of it.
Nelson Mandela’s statue in the Square was sculpted by Kobus Hattingh and Jacob Maponyane, weighs 2,5 tons and measures 2,3 metres from elbow to elbow. The shoulders of the statue are 1.7 metres in width and the shoes are 1 metre in length.
I have posted about Nelson Mandela Square next to the Sandton City Shopping Centre before (here
), but on my recent visit to Johannesburg I couldn’t help but snap another few pics to post on here. It was also the first time that I was in Jozi with the family and wanted to show them all the sights that I have only told them about.
The six meter high statue of Nelson Mandela standing in the square is the main attraction for visitors. It’s impossible to stand there for longer than a minute or two without somebody posing for a photo at Madiba’s feet.
The tall building in the background is the landmark Michelangelo Towers which stands 143 meters high and must be one of the most distinctive buildings on the Sandton skyline.
Today is Nelson Mandela’s 91st birthday. I have never met or seen this great man in real life, so unfortunately I don’t have a nice photo (taken by myself) of Madiba to post.
The picture below was taken at his birthplace in Qunu in the former Transkei. Qunu is near Mthata (Umtata) in the Eastern Cape.
It was here in Qunu that Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born on 18 July 1918. He is also known worldwide as Madiba, an honorary title adopted by elders of Mandela’s clan.
Mandela was an anti-apartheit activist, and the leader of the African National Congress’s armed wing Umkhonto we Sizwe. He was convicted in the Rivonia Trail which led to him going to prison for 27 years in prison, spending many of these years on Robben Island. Following his release from prison on 11 February 1990, Mandela supported reconciliation and negotiation, and helped lead the transition towards multi-racial democracy in South Africa. In 1994 he became the first democratically elected president of South Africa. In 1993 he received the Nobel Peace Prize and is currently a celebrated elder statesman who continues to voice his opinion on topical issues.
Yours truly standing at the Madiba statue in Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton, Johannesburg on my recent visit there