Quick guide to Madiba’s long walk to freedom: Discover historic heritage in Port Elizabeth

2018-07-12 18:00 - Kavitha Pillay
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The Donkin lighthouse and a stone pyramid in Port

2018 marks the centenary of Nelson Mandela, and in honour of this global icon, the South African government, industries and the Nelson Mandela Foundation - among other organisations - will host a number of celebratory events.

Part of these celebrations include the launch of South African Tourism’s (SAT) special mobile App called Madiba's Journey.

SEE: Get your proudly SA #Madiba100 t-shirt and be part of these Mandela centenary celebrations in Mzansi

The App, which can be downloaded on Android or Apple devices, encourages all South Africans to experience Madiba’s legacy at 100 destinations across the country.

It was developed to help users locate and explore places that shaped Nelson Mandela’s journey and provides information on the Madiba attractions’ operating hours, tours, ticket prices and contact information. Click here for more information.

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With the Eastern Cape being the birth province of Madiba, a number of special events are set to take place in the coastal province, and particularly around the heritage-centric capital of Port Elizabeth.

Boasting a few interesting cultural and historic places to visit in a day-trip celebrating Madiba’s legacy, here’s where you can begin your Madiba journey in Port Elizabeth.

Donkin Heritage Trail

Situated in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan, mainly around the city centre, this trail links 51 historical places which can be explored on a self-guided walking tour. Click here to download a map of the Trail.

Along the Donkin Heritage Trail you will see a collection of Victorian buildings and monuments that serve as historic reminders of the first British settlers who arrived in Algoa Bay, as well as a statue of Madiba which is part of the Voting Line Sculpture.

Route 67

Within walking distance of the Donkin Heritage Trail and Reserve, one can explore deeper into SA’s history with Route 67.

At the starting point is Port Elizabeth’s iconic Campanile memorial, which was relaunched in 2017, boasting breathtaking views, an art gallery and state-of-the-art bells.

Further along Route 67 you will come across Madiba’s quotes on walls - each representing a year in his 67-year struggle for democracy, and this eventually leads to the Voting Line Sculpture representing democratic victory for South Africans.

MUST-SEE: #SAHeritage: Route 67, the journey to democracy

Voting Line Sculpture

This 38m-long sculpture at the Donkin Reserve is a representation of the thousands of South Africans who voted in the country’s first democratic elections.

The long metal sculpture depicts South Africans in a queue, and at the end is a metal cut-out of Madiba with his classic fist in the air pose. SAT says that this is one of the artworks set up at the Reserve as part of the Mandela Bay Development Agency’s urban revitalisation project. Read more about the project here.

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Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Museum

Delve into South African art and culture at this museum just a few minutes away from the Voting Line Sculpture and Route 67.

This art museum houses a collection of South African art and craft - specialising in the art of the Eastern Cape, as well as British and Oriental art and international printmaking. SAT says that even the entrance to the museum at St George’s Park “is a piece of art” created by Mother Nature.