SA marks 50 years since Mandela's arrest

2012-08-04 16:22
Nelson Mandela. Picture: Cornel van Heerden

Nelson Mandela. Picture: Cornel van Heerden

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Howick - South Africa unveiled its latest monument to Nelson Mandela on Saturday, a new statue along a rural highway marking the spot where he was arrested 50 years ago for his struggle against apartheid.

Mandela, now 94, was arrested as a young liberation fighter on August 5, 1962, near the town of Howick, just months after he founded the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC).

He had returned just a few weeks earlier from a trip across Africa drumming up support for the new Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK).

The sculpture is made up of 50 steel rods of between five and 10 metres high and when viewed from a certain angle, Mandela's image come into focus.

"The front of the sculpture is a portrait of Mandela, it has vertical bars which represent his imprisonment," said the monument's designer Marco Cianfanelli.

"When you walk through the structure it radiates like a burst of light, which symbolises the political uprising of many people and solidarity."

President Jacob Zuma, Mandela's grandson Mandla Mandela, and others planted trees along a pathway leading to the monument in honour of the Nobel peace prize winner.

At the foot of the trees, wooden signposts were inscribed with the words negotiator, courageous, statesman, leader, prisoner, comrade and character.

"We must encourage generations to visit the site because those who do will be inspired," said Zuma, who unveiled the monument.

Mandela's life on the lam, dodging apartheid police while making appearances across the country, earned him the nickname "Black Pimpernel".

He was arrested while travelling illegally to Johannesburg from Durban, where he had briefed ANC leader Albert Luthuli on his trip.

Police found him disguised as a driver under the false name of David Motsamayi, in the car of the theatre director Cecil Williams.

27 years in prison

His arrest about 100 kilometres from Durban led to 27 years of incarceration, until his release on February 11, 1990, an event that was watched around the world.

Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994, a unifying force after decades of white minority rule.

"I realised that to try and get away would be a gamble," Mandela said during a visit to the site of his arrrest in 1993, the year he won the Nobel peace prize. "I decided the game was up."

"The arrest itself was done very courteously, very politely. The policeman was doing his duty, he did it according to the law, he was courteous."

It was never known who sold him out.

"He did not make himself known to his friends, including me, because we were watched and followed. It came as a surprise to hear that he had been arrested in Howick," George Bizos, a lawyer and close friend of Mandela, told AFP.

"We learnt later that he was insufficiently cautious."

Mandela made a splash at his trial, arriving to defend himself in court sporting the traditional Xhosa garb made of leopard skin.

He was jailed for five years for organising an illegal conference abroad and for leaving the country without permission, before being sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964, when the authorities discovered he was the head of the ANC military wing.

The anniversary of the arrest "reminds the country of how far we have travelled", said Verne Harris of the Nelson Mandela Centre for Memory.

"Madiba now lives in a democratic South Africa, while 50 years ago he had to fight for freedom," he said, using the Mandela clan name, a term of respect.

"While we still have many challenges and reality is still harsh for many South Africans, we have come a long way."

The anniversary will also be marked by a new "Mandela Day Marathon" on August 26 that will end at the new monument.


Read more on:    nelson mandela  |  jacob zuma  |  howick  |  durban
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
17 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
4 real car inventions that seem like science fiction

Vehicle design and tech have come so far so fast, that what seemed impossible has become reality. These are some of the fun and exciting innovations that have found their way into vehicle tech.

/News
 

10 most expensive cars In the world

This is car porn at its best!

 
 

Luxury living

Seven of the most expensive children's toys ever made
5 millionaires turned murderers
The youngest billionaires in the world and how they made it
Watch: Flying first class has never been this luxurious!
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a restless need for action and you may go overboard and fill your day with too many things in the need to be recognised...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.