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It was on a lonely strip of road in 1962 that the South African police were to capture Nelson Mandela and bring to an end his 17 month period of being on the run. Following his capture, Nelson Mandela would not have his freedom again until his release in 1990. On the day he was captured, who was to know that this man would turn his back on violence, cast aside his bitterness and guide a troubled South Africa through a peaceful election in 1994 and into a democracy that is today the envy of most of the free world? The incident is marked by a small brick structure along the roadside, approximately 5km out of the town of Howick, and has been declared a national heritage site.
While on the run, the press had labelled Mandela the Black Pimpernel and unlike many of his colleagues who fled into neighbouring countries, Mandela had decided to stay in South Arica to continue the fight against apartheid. By that stage he was one of the most wanted persons in the country and it had become increasingly difficult for him to travel. At the time of his capture, he had assumed the name David Motsamayi and was posing as a chauffeur to his colleague Cecil Williams who was accompanying him on his return from a meeting in KwaZulu-Natal.
The Capture Site was unveiled in 2012 and is currently undergoing further improvements. The museum is temporarily housed in a shed and contains details of Mandela’s life while outside is a magnificent piece of art created by South African artist Marco Cianfanelli. From afar, the sculpture appears to be a series of giant vertical metal bars and as you draw nearer, an image of Nelson Mandela comes into focus. The use of steel bars is fitting, considering the number of years Mandela was to spend behind them.
There is a coffee shop on the premises and the annual Mandela Day Marathon finishes at the Capture Site.