I lived in South Africa a few years ago and one of the things I did was visit Nelson Mandela’s house in Soweto with a Zambian and a Tanzanian friend. I will briefly talk about Soweto township first – I did not expect it to be like that. The township was quite clean and peaceful. There were nice shops and the roads were well paved. I was surprised because the only thing I saw about Soweto on TV showing riots during freedom struggle. I was impressed with Soweto actually.
We got lost and my Tanzanian friend asked one man for directions in the local language. The man said “The house is on the next street. I am glad it’s not another group of Makwerekwere (slur for foreigners) asking for directions. They are always visiting Mandela’s house.” We laughed afterwards since we are Makwerekwere. I wondered if the man thought that the tourism traffic generated by Mandela’s house was wrong.
Visiting Mandela’s house was a humbling experience, especially since there is another house for another Nobel laurete’s, Rev. Tutu’s. I forgot to take photos of Tutu’s house.
I was surprised that we were the only visitors. Maybe we just happened to go at a quiet time. Mandela’s house, although small, is far much bigger than his cell on Robben Island. I had an opportunity to visit I earlier as well and will write a post about it later.
There were a few quotes on the walls of house and this is one of them:
Like everybody knows, the Mandela was educated and this is one of the diplomas in the house:
Mandela and his wife, Winnie, had their children in this house. According to their tradition, a baby’s umbilical cord has to be buried under a tree and this tree in their yard had that honor:
On our way from Soweto we passed by The Calabash, a stadium that was constructed for the 2010 World Cup Soccer games. It is an impressive structure.
We also passed through downtown Johannesburg and this is the African National Congress (ANC) headquarters. Do you see the Umkhonto we Sizwe, i.e. Spear of the Nation, and the shield?
Here is another quote from Mandela which I thought was a good message for today’s world:
Mandela and others like him the world over are more than the word brave itself. I don’t know if I could have continued standing in the face of savagery. I salute people like Mandela because they are the epitome of what “stand up for your rights” means.
Have you ever visited a house of a person that did a lot for humanity? How did that make you feel?