Robben Island is where people were exiled, isolated and banished nearly 400 years ago. Picture: supplied.
Robben Island is where people were exiled, isolated and banished nearly 400 years ago. Picture: supplied.

Cultural and heritage attractions to add to your SA bucket list

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published Sep 21, 2021

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Exploring heritage and cultural attractions helps travellers and tourists learn more about a destination.

It allows them to embrace the locals and understand their history and traditions. Here's where to go in the Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal:

Western Cape

Iziko Museums of South Africa

Iziko Museums of South Africa showcases the public art and cultural destinations in Cape Town. The organisation manages 11 national museums, collection-specific libraries, a world-class social history archive, a planetarium and digital dome. Here, travellers can immerse themselves in culture, history and science.

The Iziko South African Museum, for example, was founded in 1825. Open from Tuesdays to Sundays, the Company’s Gardens attraction houses more than one and a half million specimens of scientific importance.

Travellers can also visit the Iziko South African National Gallery, the Iziko Maritime Centre, Iziko Bo Kaap Museum, the Iziko Slave Lodge, Groot Constantia, the Castle of Good Hope, the Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome. Call before you visit.

Visit www.iziko.org.za/

Robben Island

Robben Island is located in Table Bay, some 6km west of Bloubergstrand, and stands around 30m above sea level. It is here where people were exiled, isolated and banished nearly 400 years ago.

It was also where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned from 1964 to 1982. His jail cell is among the reasons why tourists visit the island.

The boat leaves for Robben Island at the V&A Waterfront. Tours take place every weekend-from Friday to Sunday. Visit www.robben-island.org.za/

Gauteng

Vilakazi Street

Vilakazi Street is undoubtedly one of the most famous streets in the country. Once the home to Nobel Prize winners Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Vilakazi Street offers visitors a glimpse of the culture, heritage, food, fashion and art.

Visit Mandela House Museum where Mandela and his family lived from 1946 to the 1990s. There are no guided tours, but you can wander around viewing the various memorabilia, artworks and awards of Madiba’s family.

Someone will answer your questions. You can also take a stroll past Desmond Tutu’s former home, which is now a private property, before enjoying the sunset at one of the many restaurants.

Liliesleaf Farm

Liliesleaf is a South African national heritage site. It is here where the ANC, SACP, Umkhonto we Sizwe and the Congress Alliance had their secret headquarters between 1961 and 1963.

When you visit, you will learn about the July 11, 1963, police raid which led to ten people being put on trial to face charges of 193 counts of sabotage against the state.

You can also find exhibitions and other memorabilia when you visit. Visit www.liliesleaf.co.za/

KwaZulu-Natal

Ohlange Institute

Ohlange Institute is where the ANC’s first president John Langalibalele Dube founded the movement in the early 1900s, and where Nelson Mandela cast his vote for the first time ever, in remembrance of Dube’s sacrifices for freedom.

The historical institute offers well-curated tours. Make sure you visit Dube’s grave to pay your respect. Located at 1 109524 St, Langalibalele in Inanda. Call 031 322 2857.

Luthuli Museum

Luthuli Museum, a national cultural institution, preserves the philosophies and legacy of the Nobel laureate, the late Chief Albert Luthuli. The tour starts with a 15-minute video of his life, followed by a tour of the property.

The guide shares insight into his days as a struggle icon. There is a life-size wax sculpture of Luthuli at his desk where travellers can snap selfies with the late struggle hero’s statue. Located at 3233 Nokukhanya Luthuli Street in Groutville. Visit www. luthulimuseum.org.za

KZN Battlefields

The KwaZulu-Natal battlefields comprise 68 battlefields, museums, old fortifications and places of remembrance.

Travellers who want to explore should consider a guided tour as it offers insight into the different battles and cultures. Check out the Blood River battlefield, off R33 between Dundee and Vryheid, and Isandlwana, off R68 between Nqutu and Babanango.

Many of the battlefields are close to game parks and other Zulu culture and heritage sites. Visit www.battlefieldsroute.co.za/

Read the latest issue of IOL Travel magazine here.

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