Ten years ago I visited the Nelson Mandela Capture Site while touring the Midlands Meander in KwaZulu-Natal. The capture site was unimpressive and did not reflect the impact of this event on South Africa’s history. I was dissapointed.
Like so many things this too has changed. I am pleased to report that lots of thought has been given to the improvement of the capture site. There is still construction happening and the museum is being alligned to portray Madiba’s significant contribution to South Africa’s democracy. The Nelson Mandela Foundation is doing great work in piecing the Madiba legacy together. In line with the spirit of Mandela there is no entrance fee. Visitors who ask about ticket purchases are gently told about a donation box.
This site is not far from Howick and a temporary exhibition tells the story of Nelson Mandela. The exit of the exhibition leads down a long paved path to a steel sculpture. As one takes one step closer you can’t help but think about the long journey this has been. For Madiba and for South Africa. A journey that is symbolised by Marco Cianfanelli’s production of 50 steel columns varying between 6.5 and 9.5 metres in lenght. At a distance of 35 meters, the columns shows a portrait of Nelson Mandela, looking west.
Cianfanelli comments on the deliberate structural paradox, that, “this represents the momentum gained in the struggle through the symbolic of Mandela’s capture. The 50 columns represent the 50 years since his capture, but they also suggest the idea of many making the whole; of solidarity”.