Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Nelson Mandela and the townships

Nelson Mandela has lived both in Alexandra and Soweto. In Alexandra, they are now in process of finishing the Nelson Mandela Yard Interpretation Centre - which will include a tourist information office, restaurant and retail outlets. Nelson Mandela settled here, after leaving Transkei in the 1940's for Johannesburg.

In Alexandra, Nelson Mandela lived in this neighborhood with his mother, and you can still see the very small house in which he lived. Here he started his career as a guard in a mine, but ended up studying law, and finishing his b.A. at the University of Johannesburg via mail, and took his second degree in law at the University of Witwatersrand. During this time he also ran a small law firm with his friend Walter Sisulu, here in Alexandra

This was before his political opposition process started, that would lead him to the infamous Robben Island prison and life long captivity.

Nelson Mandela moved in 1946 to 8115 Ngakane Street in Orlando west, in Soweto with his first wife Evelyn Ntoko Mase. Here he lived through his first marriage and divorce, and with his second wife Winnie Madikizela until he was arrested in 1962 and sentenced to life long imprisonment. from which he was released in 1990.

Today this modest little house is a heritage site, celebrating the father of the modern South African democracy. We passed it, on our way back from our lunch at Nambitha, located close by. Our next stop on our sightseeing was a visit to Credo Mutwa Cultural Village, in Jabavu in Soweto.

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