Lion’s River | Nelson Mandela Capture Site

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I consider it a serendipitous stroke of favour that we found ourselves at the Nelson Mandela Capture Site Apartheid Museum today. At this significant time in our Tata’s life, it was fitting to walk this path today and acknowledge his struggle and journey. It wasn’t a planned visit, but most definitely a moving one.
Driving from Lidgetton towards Midmar, the actual capture site is on the right hand side of the road, with the museum on the left. Driving down there are signboards with his visage, each with one of many titles assigned to Madiba: Leader. Comrade. Negotiator. Prisoner. Statesman. It is a reminder that no man fits snuggly in one box – we are all multi-faceted and we all have opportunity to change and grow. Bad situations are not final.
Besides the museum, there are also the Truth Café and Truth Store, housing books and Madiba memorabilia. We didn’t visit any of these, what caught my attention without even knowing it was there or intending to look for it was the Sculpture. We just started moving in that direction, and looking at the magnificent backdrop I was saddened to think that a place of such beauty was the point of Mandela’s capture, the beginning of his long 27 years imprisonment. As we started walking down this long path I related it to his “long walk to freedom”, walking slowly, stopping to take everything in.
Towards the end of the path the ‘sculpture’ rose up before us. From the road, and the lane leading to the parking area, all that is seen are high towering poles/beams – I don’t know how else to describe these seemingly formless metal structures protruding from the ground and reaching skyward. They don’t seem to resemble anything. But, walking down the path leading to them, as one approaches, Madiba’s face magically appears – sculpted from strategically placed metal structures that individually are unrecognisable as anything at all. Looking at these structures individually, I am reminded of strong prison bars (although these bars are etched and flat) towering strong and indestructible above us.
Behind all of this rests a plaque: “This sculpture commemorates the arrest of Nelson Mandela on this road in 1962. The arrest set in motion his trial and subsequent 27 year incarceration and long walk to freedom.” The plaque is surrounded by bouquets of flowers and notes from visitors with “We love you Madiba” and “Get well soon” wishes held down by stones. It seems many who love him and are concerned with his current health situation have come to pay tribute to this remarkable man who is loved by so many.

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