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WWhen following in the footsteps of South Africa’s first democratically elected president it is important to learn more about the many places that played a part in his journey. As we travel in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela, we realise the importance of the people and places he touched with his hope and courage.
TThe Drakenstein Correctional Centre is one of these places and it forms an important part of Madiba’s journey. Here is a short history lesson on how important this facility was in the life of Madiba. The Drakenstein Correctional Centre, was formerly known as Victor Verster Prison and is currently an unofficial attraction linked to the life and times of Nelson Mandela.
The centre is located in the Western Cape, between Paarl and Franschhoek in the Cape Winelands. It was here, in a house on the property, that Nelson Mandela spent 14 months of his 27-year imprisonment - this was the last stop on his iconic long walk to freedom.
Drakenstein Correctional Centre
TToday the Drakenstein Correctional Centre sits among rolling winelands and picturesque mountains. Looking more like a private boarding school than a prison, it still houses minimum-security prisoners. Outside the main gate stands a bronzed, full-size statue of the great man with his fist upraised in his trademark pose. He inspires us to carry on his great work and the inscription on the statue reads: "The Sexwale Family Foundation has commissioned this Long Walk To Freedom Statue in honour of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, together with all those who walked before, alongside and for him in the quest for a united non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and free South Africa, as part of the international struggle for human solidarity against all forms of oppression and exploitation.”
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