Mandela capture site hallmarked with grand precinct plan

Jonathan Erasmus, The Witness

Howick - Provincial and regional leaders marked the 53rd anniversary of former president Nelson Mandela’s arrest at the Howick capture site by unveiling a model of the future plans for the precinct.

Leading the ceremony, MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube called it a “singular honour to stand on the site of Madiba’s arrest”, a moment she said “forever changed the course of our country’s history”.

The future plans for the Mandela Capture Site include a permanent museum, a craft hub and a conference centre.

“The steel monument that forms the backdrop to today’s commemoration celebrates South Africa’s first democratically-elected president. It marks the site of the apartheid regime’s most important arrest during its relentless oppression of its political opponents.

“As such, the monument marks a turning point for our country’s history,” said Dube-Ncube.

She said August 5 marked the end of Mandela’s journey as an “underground revolutionary” but that while the police had prepared well for his arrest they had “unwittingly … planned the [apartheid] regime’s own demise”.

Among the 30 people who attended the anniversary, among them local and regional politicians, was Nolusapho Mandela, the mother of Mandla Mandela.

“Tata is smiling today looking over this initiative. We will always support anything that is in his name,” said Mandela.

The former president had been on the run from the South African apartheid government for 17 months before his capture, earning him the nickname “Black Pimpernel”.

He was disguised as a chauffeur driving an Austin Westminster on August 5, 1962 when police flagged him down at a roadblock on the R103 near Howick.

He was driving a colleague, Cecil Williams, who sat in the passenger seat, and was using the alias David Motsamayi.

The Witness