Almost at the end of our day, and after having that one last cappuccino before heading home for the day, we noticed that there was a museum dedicated to Nelson Mandela just a small drive away. Not expecting much, we decided to make this the last stop on our travels for the day.
What a surprise awaited us! The museum exists on this site because it is here, on the R103 just north of Howick, that Nelson Mandela was finally arrested on 5 August 1962. He never regained his freedom after that until 27 years had passed. The museum consists of a small building off the road that houses a collection of photographs, quotes and stories that essentially chronicles his entire life, but without a doubt the centrepiece of the site is the awesome modern sculpture of his face, deep in thought, instantly recognisable and taken from one of the most famous portraits of him.
The sculpture is by Marco Cianfanelli, and it features an ingenious design of upright metal prods that have been laser cut so that the image appears only when you stand on a certain spot. At over five meters tall and on the side of the road at the exact spot of the arrest, the effect is that of making Mandela, what he stands for and what he became, loom large over the site where, seemingly, his enemies triumphed over him in 1962.
That sculpture is in effect the entire museum, and believe me, it’s enough. Enough to form the highlight of the day. Enough to make the sight of my son playing hide and seek in the bars an emotional one as you realise that this one man was responsible, in large part, for the fact that I can raise my child in a country that is free.