There was a warrant for his arrest, but Nelson Mandela evaded capture for 17 months. However, the police were tipped off, and on 5 August 1962, he was captured. The “Nelson Mandela Capture Site” commemorates that event.
From 1961 to 1962, Mandela was organizing. His days included sabotaging the government, holding secret meetings with journalists, a mass stay-at-home strike, traveling to other countries to request support for the ANC, etc.
While he was in South Africa, he was hiding in Rivonia (Johannesburg), and to move from place to place, he was posing as a chauffeur for Cecil Williams, a communist activist.
He was on his way from Durban back to Johannesburg when he was captured. Today, the capture site is a visitor center. There is also a shape-shifting sculpture to mark the site of Mandela’s arrest.
The Nelson Mandela Capture Site is also a museum that commemorates Mandela’s life story, focussing on the time of his arrest and his subsequent 27-year prison sentence.
The Nelson Mandela Capture Site - What To Expect
The Nelson Mandela sculpture was created by Marco Cianfanelli and Jeremy Rose. It is made of 50 steel columns. It was installed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Mandela’s arrest.
When viewed from just the right angle, the sculpture reveals the face of Mandela. However, if you change position, the image disappears and you see only steel columns.
Entry to the Nelson Mandela Capture Site
There is a fee to enter and they do offer discounts and group rates. They also offer specials. For example, pensioners get half off on Wednesday.
To get their prices and opening hours (which are subject to change), check the Nelson Mandela Capture site before you plan to go.
The museum is on the R50 (name of the road). It is close by to the N3 and Howick/Pietermaritzburg. You can make your own way there, or you can take a guided tour (from Durban).
If you have a deep interest in South African history, you will enjoy this. It is a thoughtful and humbling experience. However, if you have little or no interest in the struggle, you may feel that apart from the magnificent sculpture, there is not much to see at the site.
If you were planning to drive between Johannesburg and Durban, do stop by. Anyone who has an opportunity to see and experience it, really should. However, if history is not your thing, you may not think it is worthy of your time—says the mom who appreciated it, but whose 5 children didn’t. The site is approximately 1h23 minutes from Durban.
If you truly want to experience the legacy of apartheid, make your way to the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg.