On Nelson Mandela’s birth anniversary, we remember a leader who took the suffering of Apartheid upon himself to rid the future generations of racism. If you are in South Africa, these are the top four historic landmarks to visit.
Built at the highest point of Pretoria, the Union Buildings remain a landmark site because it was here that the first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela, was felicitated. An impressive 9-metre bronze statue of Nelson Mandela is erected on the lawns, arms outstretched, symbolising a united South Africa.
The Constitution Hill in Braamfontein is the hallmark of justice and democracy, for it is the site of the highest court in South Africa. However, that wasn’t always the case. Back in the 1890s, it had a high security prison called Old Fort that incarcerated prisoners from the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902). Later, pro-democracy leaders, striking mine workers, and everyone considered ‘anti-establishment’ was detained here. Nelson Mandela also served time in this prison.
A modest four room house where Nelson Mandela and his family resided from 1946 to the 1990s is open to visitors. You can see the collection of arts and crafts, memorabilia, and picture collections of the family.
If you’re interested in understanding the history of South Africa, a trip to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in jail, is an absolute must. What starts off as a pretty ferry-ride over the turquoise waters off Table Bay harbour, lands you in a place that symbolises centuries of oppression that South Africa suffered as well as the transformative power of forgiveness of its political leaders and eventual freedom for its people. Before the island served as a place of banishment for prisoners, for nearly 400 years it was used as a dumping ground for lepers and the mentally ill. The tour of this World Heritage Site leaves a lasting impact on the mind.