The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall” Nelson Mandela.

Before i share my South Africa experience here, let me first share  a somewhat interesting story I learnt about Mandela and his immediate family.

Iv always been of the opinion that Nelson Mandela is somewhat overrated, but after my recent trip to Johannesburg I have a change of mind. I got to visit his 8115 House in Orlando West Soweto where he was arrested to serve 27 years in prison and ohh!! Its humbling.

The house is quite small in size and very basic. It has a living room, bathroom, kitchen and 1 bedroom. I just don’t understand how they managed to live in a 1 bedroom house with his wife and children. The bedroom is not even big enough to hold a king size bed. However during that period that he lived there he was more of a fugitive and was hardly home. Our host informed us that after he was released from Robben Island in 1990 this is where he spent his first 11 days of freedom as to him this was his home. Quote “It was the opposite of grand, but it was my first true home of my own and I was mightily proud. A man is not a man until he has a house of his own

His wife Winnie was placed under house arrest in this very house for 500days in which 200 of them were in solitary confinement. She was also politically involved in the apartheid movement which made her a potential target. I cant even manage a week of isolation, so I can just imagine 200days. And despite all that harassment she wasn’t deterred. What a strong woman!

The house was attacked several times and the shots fired through the brick house are still visible to date as the below picture indicates. Their daughters were also not exempted from the harassment and attacks.

So it is in this very house that Mandela got arrested to serve 27 years in prison at Robben Island. He left the house a young man and came back from prison looking that old.(Small pictures to the left of main image below). If that doesn’t change my (overrated idea) about him I just don’t know what would. To have all your youth taken away, being tortured and subjected to hard labour; and still not hold that bitterness and resentment but instead spread the message of love and togetherness; we are truly talking about an icon here.

The living room

The house is currently a monument, refurbished after Mandela donated it to be used for research on the legacy of the Mandela Family. It has become a tourist hotspot with people from all over the world visiting to learn about this Great Man. This mounting shows before and after the remodelling.

Am no politics fan but going by the history,I believe there were other people involved in the fight for democracy and an end to apartheid. However, Mandela was the voice or the force behind that movement. That is very evident in all the quotes that are mounted all over the walls. He had a very liberal mind and was very committed and loyal to his cause. They told us while serving his 27 years, he was presented with 3 offers for release, of course under terms and conditions; but turned them all down.

“I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the idea of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and see realized. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which am prepared to die”

Well with that said, I noticed most of the visitors did not leave the premises without a photo of them wearing his Iconic Salute. It was just contagious. So here’s to Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

In other news, does anyone think Lady Gaga killed it at the Oscars with her performance? Me too!!


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