Pretoria, the capital of South Africa, is only about an hour drive away from Johannesburg, but not that often part of an African safari holiday itinerary. However it played a main role in Mandela’s life.
The so-called Rivonia Trial where Mandela was sentenced for life took place in the Palace of Justice at Church Square. Only about a 10 minutes drive away from Church Square in the government buildings called Union Buildings, he was the first black president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. And now he is lying in state in the very same Union Buildings before a state funeral will be the closure of 10 days mourning.
Mandela’s footsteps in Pretoria are remarkable, from a life in prison, to president and honored in death. They tell the story of an extraordinary life and that all can turn to the best.
Think about doing a tour when being in South Africa for a safari. It is worth it.
Today more than 90 world leaders came together to pay their respect to Nelson Mandela in Soweto, the place where he lived when he was a young man.
Soweto is on many itineraries of visitors before they carry on for their African safaris in Kruger Park. It is a large city with about 3 million people, a buzzing life, well known sights at the Hector Pieterson Museum, the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital (the third largest hospital in the world) and Soccer City (built for the Worldcup in 2010).
But the most visited place in Soweto and especially now is the former Mandela family home, a humble house in Orlando West, also called the Mandela Family Museum. It has a rather interesting collection of memorabilia of his life in the four inter-leading rooms. It is part of every Soweto Tour and although it is small, it gives a glimpse of the world leader and the private person he was.
It is worth seeing Soweto, its history, its diversity and what it achieved in recent years with restaurants, hotels and shops like modern places elsewhere in the world.