As we celebrate Nelson Mandela Day on July 18, it is important to reflect on the legacy that he has left. Nelson Mandela International Day (or Mandela Day) is an annual international day in honour of Nelson Mandela, celebrated each year on 18 July,Mandela’s birthday. The day was officially declared by the United Nations in November 2009, with the first UNMandela Day held on 18 July 2010.
Madiba gave a culturally diverse nation of 50-million its strongest sense of purpose and to set an example for the world of how South Africa – one of the world’s most beautiful countries, overcame oppression through dialogue, an unwavering commitment to peace and through united determination to build a future that we can all be part of and it is something we are proud to share with the world.
Whether you are visiting South Africa for the first time or whether you are touring the country you call home, you will no doubt download the new app launched by South African Tourism (SAT) in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation. It focuses on Madiba-inspired tourist attractions and it features tourist sites as well general places of interest in the four provinces that defined Mandela’s life. From the UNESCO World Heritage Site Robben Island off the coast of Cape Town, where he was imprisoned, to Qunu in the Eastern Cape, where he was born, spent his boyhood and was laid to rest in December, 2013.
On your travels you will encounter many colourful stories such as in Liliesleaf, Johannesburg, where prominent liberation leaders sought refuge before their arrest in 1963. Mr Mandela himself hid from apartheid security forces there, masquerading as a gardener to avoid recognition by the army and police.
Another poignant site along your journey is the Nelson Mandela Capture Site. It was here, in 1962, that Madiba was captured after having been on the run for more than 17 months from a regime determined to hunt him down. South African artist Marco Cianfanelli created a sculpture that amplified Nelson Mandela and the place where he was incarcerated. Today, more than three years after it was unveiled, the Capture Site sculpture has become iconic of South Africa; an internationally recognised symbol and a place that draws thousands to the small town of Howick in Kwa-Zulu-Natal province.
Another site is Vilakazi Street in Soweto which is one of the most famous streets in the world as it is where two Nobel Peace laureates, Nelson Mandela and Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu, made their homes.
Nelson Mandela may be an international icon and a world-renowned statesman. But to South Africans, he is the much loved, and deeply missed, grandfather of the nation. Whilst visiting these interesting sites are awe- inspiring, it is clear that South Africans have invested their hearts in keeping Madiba’s legacy alive.