Madiba landmark to become 'second Robben Island'?

2013-08-26 10:42

Cape Town - The historic road where President Nelson Mandela took his first steps to freedom has been refurbished and reopened to visitors. 

Known as ‘Madiba Freedom Walk,' Schuurmansfontein Road was reopened by Transport and Public Works MEC Robin Carlisle over the weekend. The road is the historic site where former President Nelson Mandela took his first steps to freedom from the then-Victor Verster Prison, located between Paarl and Franschhoek, where he was held from December 1988 until his release on February 11, 1990.

The Cape Argus reports that expressed his hopes the house where Nelson Mandela stayed while at the Drakenstein Correctional Centre will become "the second Robben Island of the Western Cape" attracting tourists now that access to the house will be easier.

Upgrading the 2km road cost the provincial department R8-million.

The upgrade started in April and took eight weeks to complete.

Carlisle said he realised while visiting the prison that it had tourism potential and decided that something needed to be done about the road to make it easier for people to access it.

"I want to see this become the second Robben Island of the Western Cape," he said. 

Carlisle was joined by Premier Helen Zille and other dignitaries on a tour of Mandela's former house.

Zille said they wanted people to come and see where Madiba stayed before he became president.

"This was an important milestone in Madiba's long walk to the presidency and to our freedom."

She said the house was a treasure.

She said the prison was just one of many sites in the country that marked important milestones in Mandela's life.

Read more on:    nelson mandela  |  good news  |  travel  |  travel south africa

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