The Nelson Mandela Capture Site in KwaZulu-Natal is undergoing a R100-million upgrade which officials say will generate even more tourism in the area.
In the midst of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands stands a remarkable sculpture of steel poles that creates an artistic optical illusion. Initially they look like random poles of varying heights just stuck into the ground, but as you get closer, to within 35m of the structure, it transforms into an image of late President Nelson Mandela.
This is the Nelson Mandela Capture Site in Howick and its expansion, a R100-million Mandela Multipurpose Centre, seems to be on track with the completion of Phase 1 scheduled for the end of this month. This new addition will consist of a conference centre and a museum focusing on the rich heritage of the province.
The capture site has to be among the most photographed of South Africa’s heritage sites, with tourists from far and wide paying homage to the late, great leader of democratic South Africa. The place itself marks a turning point in our fight for freedom, and a deep, unique connection to the life of Mandela. It is the place of Madiba’s arrest on 5 August 1962, leading to his 27-year incarceration under the apartheid regime.
The KwaZulu-Natal Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) believes that the centre will be a “game-changer” for tourism in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. Hence the provincial government has invested in the project with much confidence and hope in its future value.
At her recent inspection of the progress made on the construction of the centre, KwaZulul-Natal Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube, said, “The sculpture we built here at the Mandela Capture Site has grown in stature and we have hundreds of tourists, local and international, who have made their way to our country and visited this sacred site, as one of the highlights of their visit to our province.
“This is a clear indication we have something special as a province, which we need to build on so as to ensure we maximise the opportunities made available by this historic site.”
The permanent museum is set to not only hold the entire historical context of South Africa’s struggle, but will also reference “Mandela as a statesman, a prisoner and an international icon”.
The conference centre will be open to any and all who want to do conferencing there. It will also facilitate seminars to teach people about South African history.
The capture site monument and the multipurpose centre are part of a cultural village project that also incorporates an exhibition centre, conference area for visitors, the museum, accommodation and a restaurant. In addition to this is the construction of a tunnel under the R103 road, linking the current exhibition site with the capture site near.
- The Mandela Capture Site is currently managed by the Apartheid Museum; tel: +27 (0)11 309 4728
- Find it: about 5km north-west of Howick on the N3 road between Durban and Johannesburg, take the Tweedie turn-off to Lions River. Turn right on to the R103. The site is a five-minute drive from the highway and well signposted. It’s open from 9am to 4pm every day of the week