22 monuments for 22 years of freedom


15 April 2016

The country has a significant number of monuments to peace and freedom scattered across South Africa – not surprising given its long history of struggle against oppression. With April marking the 22nd anniversary of South Africa’s freedom, Media Club South Africa showcases 22 monuments that pay homage to those who made this country great.

The 22 monuments

#22 – The Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg

The Apartheid Museum

The Apartheid Museum in Joburg opened in 2001 and has become a must-see for locals and visitors. (Image: Brand South Africa)

#21 – The Unknown Miner, Johannesburg

The Unknown Miner

The Unknown Miner is a casting of the original prototype of The Diamond Diggers sculptor Herman Wald created in the 1950s. This statue stands at Wits University in Johannesburg. (Image: HermanWaldExhibition.com)

#20 – The Gallows, Pretoria Central Prison

The Gallows, Apartheid Museum

Described by The Saturday Star as South Africa’s ‘factory of death’, the gallows at Pretoria Central Prison saw more than 3 500 hangings. This exhibition at the Apartheid Museum of 131 nooses represents the number of anti-apartheid activists who were hanged there. (Image: Apartheid Museum)

#19 – Mahatma Gandhi statue, Pietermaritzburg


The bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Pietermaritzburg was unveiled a century after he was thrown off a train in the town’s station. (Image: Guillaume Cingal, Flickr)

# 18 – Workers’ Library and Museum, Johannesburg

The Workers' Library

With the workmen’s quarters housing 396 men, there was no space for privacy. They slept in long rows of hard concrete ‘beds’ next to one another. A wooden platform above the concrete beds accommodated more men. (Image: City of Johannesburg)

#17 – Constitution Hill, Johannesburg

Constitutional Court

The Constitutional Court has become a bastion of South African human rights and culture. (Image: Brand South Africa)


#16 – Slavery Emancipation Monument, Elim

Slavery Emancipation Monument

The small town in the Overberg was initially a refuge for the indigenous Khoi people until it was taken over by hundreds of slaves. Most its 1 400 residents living there today are descendants of the slaves. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

#15 – Solomon Mahlangu statue, Mamelodi

 Solomon Mahlangu statue

Anti-apartheid activist, Solomon Mahlangu, was just 23 years old when he was hanged in the gallows of Pretoria Central Prison. His remains were only moved to his birthplace of Mamelodi in 1993, after being buried in Atteridgeville for 24 years. (Image: Carnival & Solomon, Tshwane Municipality)

#14 – The Holocaust Centre, Cape Town

Holocaust Centre

The Cape Town Holocaust Centre was the first of its kind to be opened in Africa. (Image: Robert Cutts)

Albert Luthuli’s memorial pays homage to one of Africa’s most respected leaders. His political activism was so important to the struggle that he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1960. (Image: KwaDukuza Municipality)

#13 – Nkosi Albert Luthuli Statue, KwaDukuza

Nkosi Albert Luthuli Statue

Albert Luthuli’s memorial pays homage to one of Africa’s most respected leaders. His political activism was so important to the struggle that he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1960. (Image: KwaDukuza Municipality)

#12 – Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum, Johannesburg

Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum

The Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum honours those children who lost their lives in 1976. (Image: Brand South Africa)

#11 – Steve Biko statue, East London

Steve Biko statue

The Steve Biko statue in East London pays homage to the leader of the Black Consciousness Movement leader who was killed while incarcerated. (Image: Shamin Chibba)

#10 – Freedom Charter Monument, Kliptown

Freedom Charter Monument

South Africa’s Constitution contains many of the tenets from the Freedom Charter, which was drawn up 60 years ago. (Image: Shamin Chibba)

#9 – Diggers Fountain, Kimberley

Diggers Fountain

A tribute to Kimberley’s diggers stands in the Ernest Oppenheimer Memorial Gardens. (Image: Kimberley City Portal)

#8 – Langa Memorial, Uitenhage

Langa Memorial

The Langa Memorial, also known as Heroes Monument, in Uitenhage pays homage to the 20 marchers who were killed by police in 1985. (Image: Department of Arts and Culture)

#7 – Bhisho Massacre Memorial, Bhisho

Bhisho Massacre Memorial

Twenty-eight marchers were shot and killed by the Ciskei Defence Force in what became known as the Bhisho Massacre. (Image: Buffalo City Tourism)

#6 – Mandela House, Soweto, Johannesburg

Mandela House

Nelson Mandela’s humble first home has become a must-see spot when visiting South Africa. (Image: Shamin Chibba)

#5 – Memorial to the Six Million, Johannesburg

Memorial to the Six Million

Memorial to the Six Million is one of Herman Wald’s many public sculptures that remain a part of South Africa’s cultural landscape. (Image: HermanWaldExhibition.com)

#4 – Heroes Park, East London

Heroes Park

Heroes Park in East London incorporates three monuments that remembers our freedom fighters and celebrates the country’s freedom and cultural diversity. (Image: Supplied)

#3 – Archbishop Desmond Tutu statue, East London

Archbishop Desmond Tutu statue

The statue of Archbishop Desmond Tutu in East London pays tribute to him as a healer. (Image: Shamin Chibba)

#2 – Robert Sobukwe Memorial, Graaff-Reinet

Robert Sobukwe Memorial

Pan Africanist Congress founder and leader Robert Sobukwe’s last day of freedom was on 21 March 1960. He spent the remaining 18 years of his life either in prison or in exile, always monitored by the apartheid government. He was buried in his hometown of Graaff Reinet in 1978. (Image: YouTube)

#1 – Robben Island Museum, Cape Town

Robben Island Museum

Robben Island is best known for its prison which held several political activists including Nelson Mandela and Robert Sobukwe. (Image: Brand South Africa)