R301 Becomes Mandela Freedom Road to Honour Madiba’s legacy

The rich history behind the name change

Drakenstein was the last stop on the late President’s inspiring road to freedom. The R301 leads to and from the Drakenstein Correctional Centre (the former Victor Verster Prison), where Madiba spent his last 14 months of imprisonment in a private house on the compound. Dubbed the Madiba Prison House, the building was declared a South African National Heritage Site. On the day of Mandela’s release, television crews, reporters, and supporters from all over the world lined the entrance to the prison, giving the location international publicity and achieving a celebrated place in the history of South Africa's democracy. A life-sized bronze statue of the legendary statesman adorns the entrance to the prison; annually, hundreds of tourists flock to the site to take photos in front of the iconic figure. “The R301 took South Africa’s late President to his last prison. This same road finally also became Tata Madiba’s gateway to freedom. On the day of his release – after 27 years spent in various prisons – Mandela was escorted out on the R301. This road has enormous historical significance,” said Alderman Conrad Poole, Executive Mayor of Drakenstein Municipality. “Madiba is remembered for the sacrifices he made for all South Africans, especially the footprints he left behind in Drakenstein. We can further honour him by renaming this road after him,” he said. Drakenstein reaps benefits Drakenstein Municipality’s business plan, called the Integrated Development Plan (IDP), recognises the naming and renaming of streets and other public places as an integral part of place-making. In this regard,

The R301 road between Paarl and Franschhoek will be renamed the Mandela Freedom Road to honour the late President Nelson Mandela who took his first footsteps of freedom here 33 years ago, following his incarceration. This step, initiated by the Drakenstein Municipal Council, will strengthen the tourism value of the area, as well as give this road a uniform name. The geographical name change was gazetted on 16 September 2022, when Nathi Mthethwa, national Minister of Sport, Arts, and Culture, officially approved the change in terms of Section 10(2) of the South African Geographical Names Council Act (Act No 118 of 1998).


VARS | February

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