This blog post was updated on September 4, 2018.
“To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
– Nelson Mandela, June 1999.
27 April is Freedom Day, a national holiday in South Africa that commemorates the day in 1994 when the first democratic election was held in the country.
Have a look at this list of four places to visit in South Africa offering the chance to learn more about the country’s struggle against apartheid and to help honor the lives of Mandela and the many other South African anti-apartheid heroes.
Northern Park Way and Gold Reef Rd, Ormonde, Johannesburg, 2001
Since its launch in 2001, the Apartheid Museum has told the tale of 20th century South Africa “at the heart of which is the apartheid story” through a series of 22 individual exhibition areas designed to take visitors through a “dramatic emotional journey through a state-sanctioned system based on racial discrimination to the struggle of the majority to overthrow this tyranny.” The Apartheid Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with guided tours available every day except Monday.
Mandela Capture Site
R103, Howick, South Africa
A 10 metre (32.8 feet) tall sculpture of Nelson Mandela marks the site where he was arrested in 1962. The sculpture by Marco Cianfanelli is made of 50 steel bars representing the half century since Mandela’s capture at the time of the 2012 unveiling. An exhibition accompanies the sculpture to help visitors best appreciate the significance of this “otherwise unassuming” place and the ramifications of that arrest. The exhibition and sculpture are open Monday to Sunday form 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. There’s a restaurant at the site serving meals form 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Robbin Island Museum
Nelson Mandela Gateway, Clock Tower Precinct, V&A Waterfront
Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Robbin Island is the site of the notorious prison where Mandela served the first 18 years of his life sentence term. Today
scenic ferry rides from Cape Town bring people to the island for coach and walking tours of the prison – including Mandela’s old cell – and the quarry where prisoners were forced to do hard labor. Visit Robbin Island Museum online to find out about ferry schedules and how to book your time on the island.
Soweto, a township outside of Johannesburg, is a community created as a result of the apartheid and was the setting for many important events in the struggle for equality including the 1976 Soweto Uprising. Tours of the area are conducted by a number of reputable guides, including those by Soweto Guided Tours.