Help us find Madiba’s Cressida

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IOL mot pic dec13 Mandela Cressida


In this photograph by Shafiq Morton bystanders mob the Toyota Cressida that transported Nelson Mandela from Victor Verster Prison in Paarl to the Grand Parade where he delivered his first speech on his release in February 1990.

The department of transport and public works is trying to trace the vehicle that transported Nelson Mandela from prison to Cape Town’s Grand Parade on his first ride to freedom.

Mandela, who died last Thursday, made his first address on the steps of the City Hall on 11 February 1990 after being released from the then Victor Verster Prison in Paarl - his first taste of freedom after 27 years in prison.

Kensington resident and ANC veteran Dawood Khan had been tasked by the party to arrange transport for Mandela and his entourage. Khan organised a fleet of Toyotas, including the Cressida which carried Madiba; it belonged to Khan’s daughter-in-law who later sold it.

Nearly 24 years on, it is unclear what became of the vehicle and who owns it.

Senior manager in strategic management support in the department Kenneth Booysen had instructed officials to get details that could help track down the vehicle.

They want the vehicle restored and to become a tourist attraction.

Head of Ministry Sanele Nyoka said the story was remarkable and finding the vehicle would give an opportunity to Capetonians

“He was part of the Western Cape,” Nyoka said. “He left a rich history with us.”

“What we want is to keep some of that history here in the Western Cape.”

He said the car was an important part of history and it was important that it be restored.

If found, it would be kept in a place where members of the public could view it.

“We would love to keep it as part of his legacy. We want people to be able to retrace Madiba’s steps.”

On Thursday Nyoka sent the vehicle’s registration number, as it appears in a photograph taken the day Mandela came out of prison, to an official who would conduct a search for the current owner.

Nyoka said transport and public works MEC Robin Carlisle was aware of the project.

Khan, now 83, could not provide details that could be helpful in the search. He had previously said he didn’t remember who the car had been sold to.

“We sold it to a private owner,” Khan said on Thursday. “He just gave the money and left. We never saw him again. If we could find him, we would buy it back from him. That is a special car.”

He said they had tried to find the car a few years ago but gave up the search when it led to a dead-end. - The Argus

If you know where the Cressida in the picture is now, let us know.

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