Just four months after the death of the Nelson Mandela, the South Africa tourist board has created a map so visitors can follow in the anti-apartheid freedom fighter’s footsteps.
The aim is to encourage travelers who were inspired by the former president to make the journey to South Africa and discover his beloved country.
Madiba’s Journey is an interactive online tool to help tourists plan their trip and is also available as a map which visitors can present at each of the 16 attractions to collect a special stamp to mark their journey.
The highlighted sites range cover a huge swathe of the country from Nelson Mandela Square in Johannesburg, to the site where the late leader was captured near Howick, not far from Durban, and incarcerated on Robben Island in Cape Town.
Taking in the four main provinces that shaped Mandela’s life – Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape – the tour includes some lesser-known attractions and places of interest alongside the iconic location so associated with the leader.
Tourists can visit Liliesleaf farm, where prominent leaders in the struggle against apartheid used to meet, until a police raid in 1963 resulted in the Rivonia Treason Trials.
Chancellor House, the building in which Mandela and his colleague Oliver Tambo opened a legal practice in Johannesburg in 1952, is also highlighted on the map, as is the Alexandra township where the freedom fighter first lived when he arrived in Johannesburg. It is currently being developed into an attraction, but the lack of a specific attraction hasn’t stopped tourists including it on their itineraries.
One of the most famous places associated with Mandela – alongside UNESCO World Heritage Site Robben Island – is the house where Mandela lived with his family in Soweto.
Situated in Vilakazi Street, it has been carefully restored and gives visitors great insight into the Mandela family. It can also lay claim to being the only street in the world where two Nobel Peace Prize winners have lived – both Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.
The interactive Madiba guide was, appropriately, launched at the Drakenstein Correctional Centre in Cape Town – the location of Mandela’s final incarceration before he walked to freedom on February 11, 1990.
Chief executive of South African Tourism, Thulani Nzima, said he hoped the map would inspire deeper connections with Mandela’s legacy.
‘What we are hoping to do is to get South Africans to begin to embrace those tourist attractions like they are their own, but also we are building a pilgrimage around this.
‘We want the international community and South Africans to look at this in the same way they would look at a pilgrimage to Mecca. Not necessarily at the same level, but we are confident that with time people are going to see it as a pilgrimage, as a must-do kind of thing.’
Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk said he hoped the map would make it ‘as easy as possible’ for tourists to experience Mandela’s story on a personal level.
He added: ‘Mandela’s integrity, spirit of hope, reconciliation and love have touched the lives of millions of people.
‘This year we celebrate 20 years of democracy and freedom and we look forward to welcoming many tourists from around the world to share our story and Mandela’s legacy with us.’
The interactive map is available at