Friday, February 11, 2011

Cows and a the city!

21 years ago today Nelson Mandela was released from prison so I thought it would be fitting to write about one of my absolute favourite sites in Joburg- Liliesleaf Farm. Mandela played a large part in the events that took place here and made it not just a rural farmhouse but one of the most important heritage sites in this country. Its not actually in the inner city (rather in Rivonia) but it is just so special that it really does not matter. I have blogged about it before but I find it so inspirational that it is going to get another mention.

I am also writing a paper for my Masters on the conservation of the buildings at the site..hence the visit today. So anyway, we (Justin, Tania and Kezhia and myself) visited the site this morning and had an absolutely fab tour, great guide and a generally amazing visit.

For those who don't know anything about the site, I will just give a quick rundown.Basically it was a house that was brought by the communist party in 1961 and used as an underground base by the ANC and Communist Party. It is also where the armed wing of the ANC (MK)was formed. It at different times played host to Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, Oliver Thambo..and the list goes on! It was also due to a raid at this site in 1963 by the Apartheid Government that many of important liberation leaders were arrested and/or ended up in jail for decades after the infamous Rivonia Trial (Nelson Mandela included). It was also at the Rivonia Trial in 1964 where Nelson Mandela spoke one of the most inspirational and amazing speeches, which I think if everyone tried to live their life's by we would have a much better world:

During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.

I am very excited about doing this project on the site, I am so lucky to live in a city and country with such an exciting and amazing history and heritage.

Also just a quick mention as I thought it went nicely with the "farm" is Transport Square near Ellis Park which is home to some beautiful mosaic cows. This fantastic area has been part of a huge regeneration project and has some of the most lovely art. I also like how they have planted some indigenous trees..always great in the inner city!

And now something totally off topic:

Yesterday I had a meeting in the city so we decided to have lunch and the meeting somewhere a little different. I am not a huge fan of Chinese food but my meal at the "Yung Chen Noodle Den" in Commissioner Street was Delicious. Really yummy bean curd. I love the old Chinese Quarter in the city, it is just so stunning and old school.

I will write soon..until then I hope you have some great adventures in the City of Gold.