Cultural Sites of South Africa
There are a lot of cultural sites and heritage in South Africa. Here are a few of the best ones to visit.
The Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg opened its doors in 2001, and is regarded as the foremost museum in the world dealing with the history of 20th century South Africa. The exhibitions throughout the museum are often interactive, with various mediums being utilised to tell the story. Upon buying a ticket to the museum visitors are randomly assigned as black or white, and have to go through the corresponding entrance – evoking the sense of separation that defined Apartheid.
Used as a secret headquarters by ANC activists in the 1960s, Liliesleaf Farm was therefore one of the centres of the liberation movement. Many of the prominent ANC activists were arrested at Liliesleaf, including Walter Sisulu and Govan Mbeki, and just two years after it became a headquarters, leading to the Rivonia Trial. Nelson Mandela lived at Liliesleaf for a time under the assumed name of David Motsamayi.
Cradle of Humankind at Maropeng
Located at the birthplace of humankind and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Maropeng visitors centre explores the development of humans and our ancestors over the past few million years. Explore the human history on an underground boat trip learning about the changes that brought about early human develpment and discover the archeological finds discovered in the area that have led to its reputation as the Cradle of Humankind. Maropeng is best combined with the nearby Sterkfontein Caves where hominid skulls and other fossils were found.
South Africa’s Constitutional Court
The highest court in South Africa, the Constitutional Court came into being following the country’s first democratic constitution in 1994, the result of the first democratic elections in South Africa. 11 judges preside over the court, and its role is to interpret, protect and enforce the constitution.
Abbreviated from South Western Townships, Soweto is a large urban area of Johannesburg. It came to the world’s attention during the Soweto Uprising on 16th June 1976, when mass protest erupted over the Apartheid government’s policy to enforce Afrikaans as the language of education, rather than English. Police fired on 10,000 students, many died including Hector Pieterson – a minor. A monument to his memory is also found in Soweto. In Soweto you can visit the former homes of both Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela; the latter has been made into a museum.
World-famous as the prison where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 18 years, Robben Island has been used as a prison since the end of the 17th century. During its history it has also been used as a leper colony, and an animal quarantine station. The island officially stopped being a prison in 1996, and was made a World Heritage Site in 1999.