KZN celebrates Mandela centenary by linking history

EWN's Refilwe Pitjeng heads to KwaZulu-Natal for Tourism Month and finds out that the province has more to offer than just nice weather and sandy beaches.

The Luthuli Museum in Groutville, KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: Refilwe Pitjeng/EWN

DURBAN - When you think of KwaZulu-Natal as a tourism destination, you can’t help but think of sunny skies and warm beaches. The ideal holiday right? Well, the province has more to offer than just the warm Indian Ocean.

To celebrate Tourism Month, Eyewitness News Lifestyle headed to the province to find out what else it has to offer.

South Africa has a rich history of politics and the governing African National Congress (ANC) has made sure that you know about the country’s history.

THE LUTHULI MUSEUM

Chief Albert Luthuli was the president of the ANC from 1952 and Africa’s first recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace for his efforts to end apartheid. Situated in Groutville, the house turned-museum is surrounded by gardens and hosts changing exhibitions.

Entering the house, you are welcomed by a wax figure of Chief Luthuli, dressed in his original brown cardigan and formal pants with a white shirt. Going further into the house, you can’t help but feel a sense of nostalgia because of the coal stove, and hope because of the peaceful man Luthuli was.

After visiting the house, you can then view a short film about his life and a photo gallery of his life and mysterious death.

MADIBA’S FIRST VOTING VENUE

In 1994, when the black majority of South Africans cast their vote for the first time, the first democratic president of the land, Nelson Mandela was among the millions. He cast his first vote in Inanda, at the Ohlange school.

Mandela is from the Eastern Cape and he decided to cast his first vote in KwaZulu-Natal because he wanted to visit the first president of the ANC, John Dube, and deliver a message that the people were finally free.

When visiting places that hold historical significance in the province, it’s amazing to witness how everything from the people and the events were linked, almost like fate.

MANDELA CAPTURE SITE

When you visit the beautifully lush green Midlands, it’s hard to imagine that there is an area that represents our ugly history of apartheid.

As soon as we drove into the Mandela Capture Site in Howick, I was unintentionally overcome by feelings of peace because it’s so beautiful, sadness because of the dark history and hope because of the man Madiba was.

A small museum in a temporary shed, emblazoned with enlarged images of Mandela and the places of significance to him, from his childhood and early adulthood, begin the site. From there, the visitor is invited to take a long walk, of some 400 metres, down to the road, to view the sculpture.

History is a painful yet insightful part of any nation, but it is necessary. Holidays or vacations are not only about escaping and relaxing, but about self-realisation, learning and finding yourself again.