The genesis of the project at the Nelson Mandela Capture Site and the installation of an internationally recognizable sculpture in the Natal Midlands landscape is a response to the modest original monument on the site consisting of a plaque set into a wall on the side of the road.
In 1962, on 5 August, this otherwise ordinary piece of road along the R103, approximately five kilometers outside Howick, KwaZulu-Natal, suddenly took on profound consequence. Armed apartheid police flagged down a car in which Nelson Mandela was pretending to be the chauffeur. Having succeeded in evading capture by apartheid operatives for 17 months, Mandela had just paid a clandestine visit to ANC President Chief Albert Luthuli’s Groutville home to report back on his African odyssey, and to request support in calling for an armed struggle. It was in this dramatic way, at this unassuming spot, that Nelson Mandela was finally captured and arrested.
As one of the historically important moments in the struggle against Apartheid, a more appropriate and exciting marking of the site was needed which has now been realized and erected.
With the purchase of the farm opposite the monument site, it became possible to put in place the process to mark the Nelson Mandela Capture Site as a major destination in South Africa for our citizens and international visitors to engage with Nelson Mandela’s legacy. His disappearance from public view at this site into incarceration for 27 years along his long walk to freedom symbolically culminated in his reappearance here on the 50th anniversary of that fateful day.
This is dramatically achieved in a creative manner with the commissioning and introduction of a powerful major new sculpture, set into the environment of this silently potent space in the midlands landscape of KwaZulu Natal on a section of road that, quite randomly altered the history of South Africa.
The Director of the Apartheid Museum, Christopher Till responsible for the project identified this as catalytic and major element required for the proposed development on the new site and an example of how the installation of art into an environment of history and heritage can be a powerful force.
Made possible by the Department of Co-operative Government and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) the uMngeni Municipality, the Apartheid Museum and the KwaZulu Natal Heritage Council (AMAFA) in association with the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, this historic memorial site was inaugurated and unveiled on the 4th of August 2012 by President Jacob Zuma.
The uMngeni municipality, with the assistance of COGTA, has commissioned a plan for the establishment of a museum, multipurpose theatre and amphitheatre, and supporting tourism educational and cultural facilities including an arts and craft node to be situated on this site. This will create job opportunities for the local community and will no doubt become a major tourist attraction at this significant heritage site on the Midlands Meander.