Connect with and remember Nelson Mandela while on the City Sightseeing bus in Cape Town

05 July 2018

Mandela’s History in Cape Town

On 18 July, the world celebrates Nelson Mandela International Day in commemoration of Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy. In addition to making a commitment to change the world for the better, as is Mandela Day’s call to action, we recommend you spend some time engaging with Mandela’s history in Cape Town.

Here are a few recommendations to connect with and remember Mandela’s legacy along the City Sightseeing open-top bus route:

Visit Table Mountain, ‘a beacon of hope’

Mandela is famously quoted as saying in 1998: “During the many years of incarceration on Robben Island, we often looked across Table Bay at the magnificent silhouette of Table Mountain. To us on Robben Island, Table Mountain was a beacon of hope. It represented the mainland to which we knew we would one day return.” Today, Table Mountain represents a source of great pride to many South Africans. In 2012, Table Mountain was named one of the New7Wonders of Nature after a rigourous three-year campaign and voting process, confirming it not only as an inspiration to South Africans, but the world.

How to get there: The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway is stop 7 on the City Tour route. It stops right near the Cableway ticket station. The V&A Waterfront (stop 1) as well as Camps Bay (stop 8) offer beautiful views of Table Mountain for those wanting to enjoy it from afar.

Stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Mandela and his fellow Nobel laureates at the V&A Waterfront

Nobel Square at the V&A Waterfront features statues paying tribute to four South African Nobel Peace Prize laureates: Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, FW de Klerk and Albert Luthuli. These great men were instrumental in the liberation of South Africa, and you can found out more about this history and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with each of them.

How to get there: Nobel Square is a short walk from stop 1 and the City Sightseeing ticket office at the V&A Waterfront. Simply ask a City Sightseeing representative and they will direct you in the correct direction.

In the spirit of Nelson Mandela, give back at iKhaya le Themba

At its core, Mandela Day is about encouraging people to change the world for the better. This can be volunteering or running a community-centred project. If you’re not sure what to do for Mandela Day, we recommend visiting our community partner, iKhaya le Themba.

iKhaya le Themba, or “Home of Hope”, is a community-driven initiative that offers after-school care to orphaned and vulnerable children through structured programmes. A percentage of every City Sightseeing ticket bought goes to this project, and we encourage passengers to visit the centre.

Passengers can visit the initiative during the Imizamo Yethu guided township walking tour.

As a tool to stimulate economic growth and bring empowerment to the community, we have partnered with and coached local guides to establish a unique walking tour of Imizamo Yethu, culminating at iKhaya le Themba. Visitors can enjoy a cup of coffee, chat to the children and talk to staff about further measures they can do to get involved with the project.

How to get there: Imizamo Yethu is stop 23 on the Mini Peninsula Tour and the start of the guided township tour. A guide will meet and see off visitors at the stop.

Visit Robben Island, see Mandela’s prison cell and engage with a history spanning 500 years

Robben Island, a small island a mere 6.9km off the coast of Cape Town, is one of the most historically relevant sites in Cape Town. From as early as the 17th century, Robben Island was used for the isolation of political prisoners, with the prison complex gaining infamy under the Apartheid regime. Most notably, Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island for 18 of his 27 years in prison. Three Robben Island prisoners became president of South Africa after the fall of apartheid: Mandela, Kgalema Motlanthe and Jacob Zuma. Today Robben Island is a museum, a South African National Heritage Site and Unesco World Heritage Site.

How to get there: Robben Island is a short ferry ride away from the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront. Robben Island Museum tickets include both the ferry ride and Robben Island Museum tour. The Nelson Mandela Gateway is located by stop 2 at the V&A Waterfront Clock Tower.

Hop-on Hop-Off

Hop on the open top red bus and enjoy the sights of Cape Town – from Table Mountain to the V&A Waterfront, from Camps Bay to Kirstenbosch. The Classic package gives you one full day on the bus covering all hop-on, hop-off tours.

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