South Africa // The Eastern Cape //

Qunu and the Nelson Mandela Youth and Heritage Centre

Some 30km from Mthatha, on the East London side, are the scattered dwellings of Qunu, where Mandela grew up. The N2 thunders through it, but his large and rather plain mansion, which you may photograph but not enter, is clearly visible on the roadside. Signs from the N2 direct you to the Nelson Mandela Youth and Heritage Visitors’ Centre, where you can pick up a tour by arrangement, and look around the craft centre. You can visit the remains of Mandela’s primary school, the rock he used to slide down with friends, and the graveyard where his parents, son and daughter are buried. Qunu is a village where the women still wear traditional clothing and young boys herd the family cows, and you’ll get some sense of the background and roots of the great man.