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Posted on: Thursday, 6 September 2012

Top 5 Struggle Sites Of South Africa

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South End Suburbia

South End Suburbia

The apartheid regime was one that caused a lot of heartache. However, like water pounding against a cliff face, the difficulties presented by this situation shaped and moulded the country to a large extent. Today, we enjoy a human diversity, culture and heritage that is multi-faceted, complex and intriguing.

While painful, this time has been an integral part of who we are. So, when visitors come to South Africa, we want them to know about the struggle and its effects to be able to understand why this country is such an incredible survivor and why we share such a passionate pride in her.

There are a number of struggle sites throughout South Africa that tell the story of the apartheid struggle. These expose the injustices and reveal the strength of the human character. Here are some of our favourites:

Robben Island (Cape Town, WC)

Released From The Island

Released From The Island

Robben Island was the state’s primary exile location for political prisoners since the 1600’s. Famous political prisoners that spent time here include former president Nelson Mandela, Tokyo Sexwale, President Jacob Zuma, Walter Sisulu and Govan Mbeki. Therefore, the prison and museum situated on this island are of special interest, since they were a major part of forming the leaders of today. It is now a World Heritage Site.

South End Museum (Port Elizabeth, EC)

South End was once a suburb reserved for non-whites. Children played in the streets, dances were held every Friday night in the school halls and local business owners enjoyed the support of their loyal neighbours. However, violent forced removals saw these people wrenched from their homes and transported to different areas, far away from the centre of Port Elizabeth. South End Museum tells their story. Stunning displays and interactive exhibits allow visitors to get a very real experience of life in old South End.

The Nelson Mandela Museum (Mthatha, EC)

Mandela's Vision

Mandela’s Vision

The Nelson Mandela Museum is situated in an especially poor part of the country. Still it is a non-profit organisation that is focused on tourism and promoting the country to travellers based on its historical wealth and heritage. When it opened, Nelson Mandela insisted that this museum be about his values and his vision for the New South Africa, and not just to honour him as a man and politician. He envisioned that it would promote development and inspire others to live their lives with strict moral codes in action.

The Hector Pieterson Memorial (Soweto, GA)

The uprisings that took place in Soweto in 1976 were a pivotal point in the political history of South Africa. These uprisings today signify the first efforts to oppose the violent brutality that resulted from apartheid. Hector Pieterson was a 12-year-old boy that was shot during these uprisings, and the picture of his lifeless body being carried by another frantic student while his sister runs alongside them has become an icon of the violence of this political era.

District Six Museum (Cape Town, WC)

Delve Into The District

Delve Into The District

District Six was established in the 1800’s by a community of labourers, immigrants, released slaves and artisans. Being made up of so many different colours, languages and cultures, it was a vibrant municipal area that was alive with heritage. However, when the forced removals of apartheid viciously tore these people away from their homes, this area became one of sad desolation, as more than 60 000 people’s homes were flattened by bulldozers. These people were forced to outlying areas of Cape Town that had no facilities, made to start their lives from scratch. This is their story.

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For fur­ther inform­a­tion, please refer to the following pages:

Amelia Meyer


Amelia is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for all things travel-related. She is based in Knysna, but has studied, lived and travelled further afield. She studied Film, Media and Literature at the University of Cape Town. She began her solo career in the form of Voxate Writing & Editing in 2008 and loves every minute of it. Amelia believes in silver linings, lessons learnt and the responsibility to do what’s right. When she is not writing, she can frequently be found at the local animal shelter, on the bicycle trails of the nature reserves or sampling new restaurants with her family.

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