Ten Significant Sites in Cape Town to Celebrate Twenty Years of Freedom
With South Africa celebrating twenty years of democracy in 2014, Cape Town boasts a number of special sites, which speak to the country’s heritage and its path to ultimate freedom. Visitors and locals can visit them to commemorate this time.
1. The City Hall and Grand Parade, in the City Centre was the site at which a crowd gathered to see and hear from the newly released Nelson Mandela on 11 February 1990. Mandela stood on the small balcony of the Cape Town City Hall and delivered his address calling for all of South African society to end apartheid. 250 000 people streamed onto the Grand Parade to celebrate the release of the country's future president.
2. The Nobel Peace Laureates statues at Nobel Square in the V&A Waterfront are a tribute to South Africa’ s four Nobel Peace prize laureates; Albert Luthuli, Desmond Tutu, FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela. The sculptor is Cape Town artist, Claudette Schreuders.
3. Once “home” to some of South Africa’s most famous political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela, Robben Island is one of South Africa’s most visited tourist attractions. Nelson Mandela spent 18 years of the 27 years he was imprisoned here. Today visitors can go to the Robben Island Museum to soak up the significance of Mandela’s time here.
4. Formerly known as Victor Verster Prison, Drakenstein Correctional Centre in Paarl is where Nelson Mandela spent his final months of imprisonment. In Nelson Mandela’s honour, Drakenstein Correctional Centre houses outreach exhibitions and a bronze statue of the former president at the Mandela House Museum.
5. Table Mountain is Cape Town’s most iconic landmark. Former President Nelson Mandela said in 1998, “During the many years of incarceration on Robben Island, we often looked across Table Bay at the magnificent silhouette of Table Mountain. To us on Robben Island, Table Mountain was a beacon of hope. It represented the mainland to which we knew we would one day return."
6. Nelson Mandela routinely appeared in Parliament as the President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. It was here in February 1990 that Former President F.W. De Klerk announced the release of Nelson Mandela. Former President Nelson Mandela made his first and last State of the Nation addresses in the National Assembly at parliament
7. St. George’s Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in South Africa. It played a key role in the resistance against apartheid by hosting peaceful demonstrations and mass protests, and has always welcomed all races. In 1989, on September 13th, more than 30 000 people from all walks of Cape Town life were led from St. Georges Cathedral to the Grand Parade in a mass anti-apartheid demonstration. It’s most famous, and most vocal, leader was Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
8. The District Six Museum revives the history of a vibrant community that was forcibly removed to the city’s periphery during apartheid. This heart-breaking story is also one of rich cultural tradition that has survived against the odds.
9. The Langa Cultural Heritage Precinct is a heritage site in the Langa Township and is made up of the Guga S’thebe cultural centre, the Old Pass Office Museum and the old Post Office building. Here visitors can buy from local crafters and explore, and sometimes see concerts. The word ‘isithebe’ means to share a meal – suggesting that the space is one where communities can gather.
10. The University of Cape Town (UCT) is the oldest university in South Africa. During the apartheid era UCT students regularly opposed apartheid both academically and physically, through student demonstrations, protests and academic challenges.
Cape Town honours the contribution that Nelson Mandela made to the symbolism of a post-apartheid South Africa and applauds all that he has done for the Rainbow Nation; however, the city also appreciates many unsung heroes like Imam Haroon and Cissie Gool, as well as its lesser known freedom attractions such as the Langa Pass Museum.
For more information on attractions and tours visit Cape Town Tourism’s website, www.capetown.travel.
Released for Cape Town Tourism by Rabbit in a Hat Communications, Tammy White, +27 21 671 2640, +27 73 202 5041, firstname.lastname@example.org.