In the footsteps of Madiba

Former South African president Nelson Mandela is a global icon, leaving his mark on not just South Africa, but the world. Cape Town plays a large part in his life story and Madiba left a lasting legacy in the city. Here are some of the places you can follow in his footsteps.


Standing in line at the V & A Waterfront harbour are life-sized sculptures of our four Nobel Peace Prize Laureates: Nelson Mandela, FW de Klerk, Desmond Tutu and Albert Luthuli. Take a stroll around the back of the Waterfront and take yourself a selfie with one of these majestic statues.

Address: V&A Waterfront, near the V&A Hotel and the Two Oceans Aquarium, Cape Town

Entrance: Free


Stand on the very spot Nelson Mandela addressed the crowds mere hours after his release from prison in 1990. Under the Italian Renaissance-style sandstone of the Cape Town City Hall, Mandela declared his commitment to reconciliation, but warned that the armed struggle would continue as “a purely defensive action against the violence of Apartheid.” Afterwards, you can explore the public square beneath the City Hall as if you were one of the first to witness Mandela’s historic speech.

Address: City Street, Cape Town

Entrance: Free


Built by colonial mogul Cecil John Rhodes for mining moguls De Beers (who market 40% of the world’s rough diamonds, formerly 90%) in 1902, this impressive building is today the command centre of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation. Walk among Mandela’s legacy, which rewards academic excellence, leadership in Africa and commitment to Ubuntu or “humanity”.

Address: 150 St George’s Mall, corner of Wale Street

Entrance: Free

Inside a Cell in Robben Island


For over 400 years Robben Island, in actuality the tip of a submerged mountain, has been home to outcasts and exiles, from indigenous chiefs to lepers, the mentally ill and political prisoners, soldiers, civilians and Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela his 2.4 / 2.1m cell.

Address: Ferries depart from the V&A Waterfront, at the Nelson Mandela Gateway, at 9am, 11am, 1pm and 3pm.

Entrance: R250.00 per person, including a tour across Table Bay, visit to the prison and bus tour of the island.


When Mandela was in Pollsmoor Prison in 1985, he was offered freedom by President PW Botha. The only condition? He renounce violence. Mandela refused and suffered in Pollmoor, almost dying 3 years later of tuberculosis. Pollsmoor is still a functioning prison, but if you’re up for something a little different, you can grab a bite to eat at the canteen, which is staffed by inmates.

Address: Steenberg Road, Tokai, Cape Town


After six years in Pollsmoor, Madiba was moved to Drakenstein for 14 months. He walked out with a radio and his surfboard at age 70. A bronze statue commemorates his triumphant release (with that iconic raised fist!) and you can view the house he was imprisoned in – a design he replicated for his home in the Eastern Cape.

Address: En route to Paarl on the R301, 5km from the R45 Hugenot Road

Entrance: Free