Nelson Mandela Capture Site



Notice Date: 

Friday, December 2, 2016


T25141/1990 & T36218/2012


As the place at which Nelson Mandela was captured, this site is significant in that it marks the beginning of the controversy surrounding his 27 years of incarceration. It is important because of the role that campaigns to free him played in the "Liberation Struggle"and the international symbol that the imprisoned ANC leader became during that period.


Description: Environ and Directions: The site is situated on the old national Road between the villages of Tweedie and Lions River. It is on a part of the road that sweeps to the south on which side of the road there is a very stee railway embankment.To the north there is a gentler slope down to a small stream. It is the only site on the stretch of road between the two villages which fits the description given by Mr Mandela. It was identified by him as the site of his capture.
History: In 1960 the ANC was banned and the bulk of its leadership went into exile. However, the activities which had led to its banning continued under the leadership of Nelson Mandela who continued to lead a clandestine ANC inside the country. On the 5th August 1962, while on an undercover operation, Mr Mandela spent the day with the Meer family in Durban, That evening he travelled back to Johannesburg in the company of an aide, Cecil Williams. Travelling on what was the national road between Durban and Johannesburg at about 01:00 on the Sunday, 6th August 1962, their car was stopped by police just North of the village of Tweedie near Howick in the Natal Midlands. The trap was well concealed and there was little time to react. Mr Mandela recalls considering escape, but noticed a high bank on the left, a stream on the right and a bridge straight ahead which made  this impossible. (it was these features, the only suc location along this strech of road, which enabled him to identify the site when he revisited it on 15th November 1993. He remained in the car which was approached by a Sgt Foster of the South African Police. He politely asked Mr Mandela to identify himself to which he replied with his cover name, David Motsamayi. Sgt Foster, who obviously had intelligence of his wereabouts, insisted that he was Nelson Mandela. Foster then climbed into the vehicle and asked Williams to turn the var around to Pietermaritzburg. The pair were held overnight at the loop Street Police Station in the City and were on the following day transferred to Pretoria from whence Mr Mandela's incaceration on Robben Island followed.


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