Printed and framed by Helen Tapping, Seattle, WA, for her husband/co-adventurer
“When I travel, I always want to explore the history of a place.”
“When I travel, I always want to explore the history of a place, so when my husband and I went to Africa in 2013, we went to places related to Nelson Mandela and his struggle for freedom. Apartheid is shocking to me, especially because it was still happening within my lifetime.
Among the places we went were Qunu, where Mandela grew up and is buried, the house in Soweto where he and Winnie lived, the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, Pretoria City Hall where Mandela was tried, Robben Island Prison in Cape Town where he was held for 18 years—and all the guides are former political prisoners—and Victor Verster prison from which he was released in 1990. We also drove 700 miles to the extremely remote town of Howick in Kwazulu-Natal, where Mandela was captured by apartheid police in 1962. He had been traveling through Africa disguised as a chauffeur while organizing for the anti-apartheid African National Congress. This gorgeous landscape of rolling hills was the last place he saw before his imprisonment.
The Capture Site is a branch of the Apartheid Museum. As you start down a long path from the museum, you see a group of 50 tall steel columns that, as you walk, line up into a portrait of Mandela looking west.
Then as you arrive at the sculpture, it disperses back into jagged computer-generated segments more than 20 feet tall pointing toward the vast sky. The sculpture marked the 50th anniversary of the start of Nelson Mandela’s ‘long walk to freedom’ and was designed by artist Marco Cianfanelli to represent the idea of solidarity, of many making a whole. There were so many moving moments on this trip, and we learned so much as we talked to people about how apartheid affected them. Mandela was ailing then, and there were signs everywhere saying ‘Prayers for Madiba’. It was clear how much he was part of everyone’s everyday consciousness.
To remember this amazing adventure, I framed my abstract image of Mandela – Sworl is a great way to frame travel photos.” —as told to Will Jackson