By Koketso Mamabolo
Freedom Day on 27 April commemorates South Africa’s first democratic elections, held in 1994. Whether you choose to immerse yourself in the history, or marvel at the beautiful country which we are all free to enjoy, there’s no shortage of ways to spend this important milestone in South Africa’s history. Here we take a look at three things you can do to celebrate the anniversary of our first democratically held elections.
Take a walk above Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban
Besides the various events, the highlight perhaps being the 2010 FIFA World Cup games held there, Moses Mahida stadium offers visitors a holistic experience that encapsulates the charm of Durban, where summer never seems to end.
Perhaps the most recognisable activity at the stadium is the Adventure Walk, which allows you to feel the scale of the engineering masterpiece, enjoy the splendid views and, if you don’t take the SkyCar up, you can also get in a workout by putting your legs through a light workout by going on a 20-minute walk to the top of the 106m high arch.
If going to the top isn’t enough of an adrenaline rush, the most thrilling activity at Moses Mabhida is undoubtedly the Big Rush Big Swing. “Are you brave enough to free fall 80m into the stadium bowl?” they ask. If you are, you can join a line of visitors who have taken the plunge on what the Guiness Book of Records has recognised as the tallest swing in the world since 2011.
Visit mmstadium.com to find out more.
Visit Robben Island in Cape Town
Few places in the world have been host to such prominent public figures as Robben Island. While the island has become famous for being the site of the prison where struggle heroes such as former President Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Govan Mbeki were held during apartheid, it’s history dates back almost a billion years, making it an environment rich with interesting things to see and find out.
The island used to be part of the Cape mainland and is the tip of a mountain which was submerged over time. In terms of recorded history, the island was first recognised as a refreshment stop for settlers and people travelling along the Cape’s seas, from the 15th to the 20th century. But before settlers and sailors began occupying the island, the Khoikhoi were the inhabitants.
Whether you’re a geology enthusiast, or a keen student of military or maritime history, the island has something to offer all South Africans. For general tours, there are four departure times for ferries heading from the mainland each day.
Visit robben-island.org.za to find out more about the island and book a tour.
Go on a tour of Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg
Constitutional Hill is described as a “living museum” and visiting it in the month which also features International Day for Monuments and Sites seems even more fitting, as it’s a space with a painful history which is not being forgotten, but used as a starting point for a collective process of healing.
For a century, the living museum was a military fort and a prison which held icons such as Mahatma Gandhi and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. “But the precinct also confined tens of thousands of ordinary people during its 100-year history,” reads Constitution Hill’s short background on its history, “men and women of all races, creeds, ages and political agendas; the indigenous and the immigrant; the everyman and the elite. In this way, the history of every South African lives here.”
Because it reflects our past, the way it has been reimagined is a perfect reflection of how our nation has been reimagined. Visitors are offered a range of tours, including a Night Tour and a Time Travel Tour. You can also go on a tour of a physical representation of the freedom celebrated on this day by going on a tour of the Constitutional Court. The restaurants and shops mean your day doesn’t have to end after your tour.
Visit constitutionhill.org.za to find out more about this symbol of our nation’s progress.