Mandela Square, Sandton Johannesburg
Situated in the heart of Sandton in Johannesburg, South Africa, the Nelson Mandela Square is surrounded by world-class hotels and restaurants. The popular Sandton City Shopping Centre is adjacent to Mandela Square.
The Square made headlines when, commemorating South Africa’s first decade of democracy, a specially donated six metre bronze statue of Nelson Mandela had been unveiled, and the square aptly renamed Nelson Mandela Square at Sandton City. The statue was sculpted by Kobus Hattingh and Jacob Maponyane and weighs over 2.5 tons measuring 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.
The intention of this statue is not only to honour the former president’s vision of a free and just South Africa, but also to create a focal point where local and foreign tourists can reflect over the events that led to the creation of the Rainbow Nation. Here, you will always see tourists desperately trying to get a photo of themselves standing next to this tall statue.
An already fashionable area with its sidewalk cafes, fine dining and some 93 exclusive shops, Nelson Mandela Square has become one of the most popular venues in South Africa. Its prime location in the heart of Sandton allows easy access to the financial district, the Sandton Convention Centre, superlative hotels and Sandton City’s 295 spectacular shops.
The Square was designed to bring to life an Italian styled piazza under the African sky. For a shopping delight, a gastronomic experience at any one of the world class restaurants or just a historical learning experience, a trip to Nelson Mandela Square is an absolute must! Whatever your reason for visiting Johannesburg, experience Nelson Mandela Square.
Nelson Mandela Museum, Eastern Cape
The Eastern Cape is rightly proud of its most famous son, and in the otherwise unlovable town of Mthatha sits a homage to Mandela. The stately Bhunga Building houses the Nelson Mandela Museum, where you can dig a little deeper into the essence of the man everyone hereabouts calls Madiba (his clan name). Imagine chatting to extended family and getting a deeper insight into Mandela’s life, and you get the idea of this humble but interesting museum. On show are handwritten notes from the former president and some lesser-seen photos. Letters and gifts sent to Mandela offer a look into how he was adored not just locally, but around the world.
Mandela House, Pretoria
Mandela moved to this humble home in Soweto in 1946. “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.” He lived here with his first wife Evelyn and later with second wife Winnie and their children, returning very briefly following his release from prison in 1990. Soon afterwards the house was converted into a museum, preserved as it would have been when Mandela lived here. If you’d like to contemplate Mandela’s life in Soweto, you’d do well to arrive early. Vilakazi Street can get very busy and once the tour groups arrive you’ll be sharing your visit to Mandela House with plenty of others keen to get a few snaps of the famous family home.
City Hall and Grand Parade, Cape Town
At the moment there is nothing marking the spot where Mandela gave his first speech as a free man in 1990. Crowds gathered in Cape Town’s Grand Parade to cheer on the newly released struggle icon. “Your tireless and heroic sacrifices have made it possible for me to be here today,” he said from the balcony of City Hall. “I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands.” Realising the importance of this site, the City of Cape Town is in the midst of plans to erect a life-size statue of Mandela on the very balcony where he delivered the speech.