Updated date:

After Nelson Mandela Died - A Moment in History Captured at the Nelson Mandela Capture Site

Author:

Fiona is a South African through and through. She couldn't imagine living anywhere else.

Who Was Nelson Mandela?

A truly inspirational leader, Madiba's smile is one of the things that we'll always remember about him.

A truly inspirational leader, Madiba's smile is one of the things that we'll always remember about him.

Nelson Mandela Quotes

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."

— Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

The Mandela Sculpture

The imposing statue has to be viewed from the exact right angle to see the face correctly .

The imposing statue has to be viewed from the exact right angle to see the face correctly .

Why is the Mandela Capture Site Historically Important?

It was on this stretch of road on the 5th August in 1962 that Nelson Mandela was arrested. It was the last time he would be a free man until his release from prison in 1992.

It was the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela that ended up becoming a rallying point for anti-apartheid activists worldwide. Although several other activists were also imprisoned, the world warmed to Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and cried out against the injustice of imprisoning a man for twenty-seven years.

You can say that by imprisoning Madiba, the apartheid government made him infinitely more powerful. I believe that his imprisonment directly led to the downfall of apartheid in South Africa.

Had he not been imprisoned, would the world have taken as much notice? The regime at the time made a decision that guaranteed their downfall.

Learn More About the ANC and the Unjust Apartheid Laws They Fought Against

Get to the Right Spot to See the Face

If you are not standing in the right spot, you won't get the whole picture.

If you are not standing in the right spot, you won't get the whole picture.

Why is the Mandela Capture Site is Worth a Visit

The museum building is currently closed because it is being upgraded. It is said that these renovations will be completed by the end of August 2016. You can still visit the sculpture; you need to enter through the first parking lot on the left rather than the main parking lot.

The museum is interesting to visit, but the show's real star is the sculpture - a collaborative effort between Marco Cianfanelli and Jeremy Rose. It consists of 50 steel columns, significantly acknowledging the 50th anniversary of the capture of Nelson Mandela.

It is made up of 50 steel columns which vary in height from 6 meters to 9.5 meters.

The real beauty of the sculpture lies in the fact that you can only see the picture if you are standing in the right spot - in fact, the sculpture caused a lot of consternation amongst locals, myself included, who couldn't see "The Face" because we all looked from the road.

The optimal spot is about 35 meters from the sculpture and is marked by the inaugural plaque.

The site was inaugurated in August of 2012 by President Jacob Zuma

There is also a delightful restaurant on site and several little shops selling souvenirs and locally-produced crafts.


The Sculpture Plaque

The official plaque at the foot of the sculpture

The official plaque at the foot of the sculpture

What Madiba Meant to Me

When I was growing up in South Africa, the ANC was still classified as a "terrorist organization." We had bomb drills at school, and I remember often being kept at home by my mom on June 16th - the anniversary of the Soweto Uprising.

Aside from that, growing up, I didn't really know much about Madiba at all. It was really only at his release in 1992 that I actually first saw a picture of him. I still remember us watching Tata walking out of Diepkloof prison. For most white South Africans, it was a day that we were dreading - there was a lot of concern that the country would fall into a civil war.

Then we actually started to get to know Tata - this "dangerous" terrorist, who had been imprisoned for 27 years, came out of prison without any trace of bitterness. He addressed youth and told them to take their pangas, knives, and guns and throw them into the sea.

But where we really started to know Tata was when he became president - it quickly became clear that he wanted peace and reconciliation for all South Africans. He worked tirelessly to rescue the economy and to improve the living conditions of the poor.

He said, “Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is people who have made poverty and tolerated poverty, and it is people who will overcome it. And overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.”

He had an especially soft spot for children. In fact, in an act unprecedented and not repeated since he donated half of his salary as president to the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.

For me, Madiba was an inspiration - almost a living saint - even though he referred to himself as a sinner. Not a hint of scandal ever reached this man, and he really led by example. It is an example that I would hope to live up to but do not think that I could ever completely match - what an exceptional life.

Reading "The Long Walk to Freedom," written by the man himself, is a great way to get to know the man. It portrays a humble but wise man. A man who held that each person's dignity is an integral human right - not a luxury.

My favorite part of the book was the early section where he talked about growing up in Qunu. His granddaughter said, at his funeral, that the family would miss his stories about his childhood and, having read the book, I can see why. He was a great storyteller.


Get your own copy of "A Long Walk to Freedom" here

A Quick Test to See if you were Paying Attention

Reaching for the Sky

There are 50 of these uprights - one for every year between Mandela's capture and the building of this monument.

There are 50 of these uprights - one for every year between Mandela's capture and the building of this monument.

Tour of the Site

The old museum building was the first stop on the journey. The tin building has been demolished and a new building has been erected. It will be completed at the end of August 2016.

The old museum building was the first stop on the journey. The tin building has been demolished and a new building has been erected. It will be completed at the end of August 2016.

mandela-capture-site
Looking back up at the Long Walk to Freedom

Looking back up at the Long Walk to Freedom

Where in the world is the Mandela Monument?

Want to Learn More About the Beautiful KZN Midlands?

Madiba Said

"A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination."

— Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

Photographer, Jonathan Burton Created this Amazing Video Covering the Erection of the Sculpture

South Africans Mourn the Death of Nelson Mandela

There has never, in the history of the world, been such an outpouring of grief. Not since Princess Diana died has the world grieved as much. South Africans left tributes at Madiba's old Soweto home and various sites across the country.

Books for messages of condolence were set up in various locations - municipal offices, historical sites, and even at various supermarkets and businesses around the country.

People took great comfort in saying goodbye to one of their heroes and have left a lot of touching messages.

The basic feeling at the moment in South Africa, on the day of Madiba's funeral, was one of sadness. At the same time, it was a celebration of a life well-lived, full life and one that made a global impact.

We will never forget you, Tata.

South Africans pay Tribute to Nelson Mandela

Books like this were in place all over the country.

Books like this were in place all over the country.

tributes started coming in on the 6th December and continued to pour in even up to the day of the funeral.

tributes started coming in on the 6th December and continued to pour in even up to the day of the funeral.

Madiba touched many lives

Madiba touched many lives

The big screen brought in to allow people at the monument watch the Memorial and Funeral services

The big screen brought in to allow people at the monument watch the Memorial and Funeral services

Mandela had an especial soft spot for children.

Mandela had an especial soft spot for children.

Paper tributes and personal tributes kept coming in.

Paper tributes and personal tributes kept coming in.

South Africans were  all coming together in their grief

South Africans were all coming together in their grief

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."

— Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

The Old and New Monuments for the Mandela Capture Site

The original monument at the capture site was across the road and was fairly small and insignificant. I remember seeing it the first time and thinking, "Is that all there is to it?"

The new site is a much better tribute. The sculpture is the largest of its type in South Africa, and you can actually embark on your own "Long Walk to Freedom."

There are also facilities on hand at the new site.

The new Capture Site is in the process of some exciting developments - An amphitheater and multi-purpose theatre, as well as a craft hub, is planned - all will help boost the local economy and provide work in line with Madiba's goals for the country.


The Old Monument

The original Capture Site Monument was deemed too small and will be demolished eventually

The original Capture Site Monument was deemed too small and will be demolished eventually

The original monument is across the road from the sculpture.

The original monument is across the road from the sculpture.

“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

— Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

People Also Ask

When was Nelson Mandela born?

18 July 1918

When did Nelson Mandela die?

5 December 2015

What did Nelson Mandela fight for?

Mandela fought for the rights of all South Africans, regardless of race, against the Apartheid government. At the time, black South Africans, though the majority, had very few rights. The Apartheid government classified non-white citizens as lower class.

They were not allowed to:

  • Vote
  • Occupy certain positions
  • Live in certain areas
  • Use beaches, trains, buses, or other public facilities designated for whites only.

Mandela, who became the leader of the African National Congress, fought this injustice and sought to change society in accordance with the Freedom Charter.

When was Nelson Mandela released from prison?

He was released from the Victor Verster Prison on the 11th of February, 1990, after international pressure prompted the then president, FW de Klerk, to free him.

How old was Mandela when he became president?

75 years old. Madiba was sworn in as the first South African president on the 10th of May, 1994.

Why was the 10th May 1994 important to South Africa?

It was the day that South Africa's first democratically-elected government came into power. The elections, held in April of 1994, marked the first time that all South Africans, regardless of race, were allowed to vote.

Who was sworn in as the first deputy president of South Africa?

Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki. Thabo Mbeki took over as president when Mandela's term ended in 1999. He was inaugurated on the 16th June 1999 and left office on the 24th of September 2008.

He resigned under a cloud after the African National Congress stated that they no longer supported him as the parliamentary head.

How long was Madiba's presidency?

Nelson Mandela served as president from the 10th of May 1994 to the 14th of June 1999.

Why is Nelson Mandela a role model?

He was a highly principled man that stood by his beliefs, even though they landed him in prison for 27-years. Despite this horrendously unfair treatment, he held no bitterness for those who imprisoned him.

He made friends with his jailor and, after his release, pleaded with non-white South Africans to remain peaceful and not try to exact revenge against the white minority.

What inspiration do we get from the life of Nelson Mandela?

Mandela became a symbol of hope and forgiveness. He could have come out of prison a bitter man. Instead, he chose to build the nation and promote reconciliation between different races.

Check Here for More Info

Rate the Mandela Capture Site

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2013 Fiona

What does Madiba mean to you?

Rob Welsh from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. on June 03, 2015:

Invictus was a terrible film it was about you guys beating us guys... Very informative work, I enjoyed it greatly, having also written a tribute to Nelson on another site. Well done Fiona... take care Rob

poetryman6969 on April 06, 2015:

Love the sculpture. Very creative.

Fiona (author) from South Africa on January 01, 2014:

Thanks SweetiePie

SweetiePie from Southern California, USA on December 30, 2013:

This hub is a beautiful and touching tribute to Nelson Mandela. I shared it .

Fiona (author) from South Africa on December 20, 2013:

Thank you Torrilynn, he meant a great deal to many South Africans so it is nice to be able to convey some of that to others. I also found that it was quite cathartic in a way - my heart was very sore when Tata died.

torrilynn on December 20, 2013:

this was a sculpture fitted especially for Mandela. your hub helped me to learn more about who he was and what he meant to you and others. shared with others.

Fiona (author) from South Africa on December 18, 2013:

Thanks cclitgirl - glad you also like the photos - I love photography, if I could figure out a way to make a living from it, I would :)

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on December 18, 2013:

What a beautiful hub! I love your homage and contribution to one of the world's greatest leaders.

Your photos are especially beautiful to see!

Fiona (author) from South Africa on December 16, 2013:

Thank you WriterFox. With the TV coverage that we had here during the official mourning period, we also learned a lot more about him. This is one of my favourite sculptures of Tata.

Writer Fox from the wadi near the little river on December 16, 2013:

This is a magnificent sculpture and tribute to Mandela. I've never seen a picture of this before so I'm glad I found your article. With his death this week, I know that many people are just learning about the valuable contributions he made in his lifetime. Voted up!

Fiona (author) from South Africa on December 16, 2013:

Dear Jeanetter - yes, I did. I love photography and feel it is better to use my own photos as far as possible.

jeanetter on December 16, 2013:

Thanks for all the personal pix - did you take them yourself?

Fiona (author) from South Africa on December 16, 2013:

Thank you Nadine

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on December 16, 2013:

What an excellent article and Tribute on Nelson Mandela. that was indeed well done.

Fiona (author) from South Africa on December 15, 2013:

Dear MsDora

Thank you for your feedback - I have always thought the monument was awesome - we are currently watching the unveiling of a new statue to Tata at the Union buildings - I am very interested to see what it looks like, it is 9m high.

Fiona (author) from South Africa on December 15, 2013:

Dear Billybuc

Thank you for your feedback - I did a lot of work on this hub because Madiba was one of my personal heroes and I have learned a lot from him. He was a fantastic person and an example to us all.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 15, 2013:

What a beautiful sculpture that is for a beautiful human being. Adding your own reflections made this article that much more powerful. Well done!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on December 15, 2013:

A beautiful tribute to the Mandela. The monument is very interesting. I can see the ace very clearly in the very first picture. Happy to see that that these monuments in his honor will keep his memory alive all over the world. Those of you who were so close to him are very fortunate.

Related Articles