John Langalibalele Dube was the founder of the Ohlange Institute in 1900. He is however best known as the first president of the ANC. Unknown to most of us, he was also a pastor, author, musician and founding editor of the Ilange newspaper.
“I have come to report Mr President, that South Africa is now free
On the grounds of the school overlooking the beautiful valley, we first visited John Dube’s graveside. He is buried along with his second wife, two sons and a daughter.
It was here where Nelson Mandela uttered his famous words : “I have come to report Mr President, that South Africa is now free”.
Perhaps this is the answer to my question as to why Mandela chose this site to cast his vote.
Throughout the little building are displays of John Dube’s accomplishments. He certainly had an interesting and eventful life. His piano and a well worn writing desk are also displayed. I could not help stroking the desk, imagining this man penning his thoughts and beliefs. It was fascinating.
The building is neat and well maintained with a sense of peacefulness. I would love more time to browse the walls covered in history. But time waits for no one and marches far too quickly.
I loved Mandla’s words: “the next thing, size 11 shoes stepped out onto the red carpet right where you are standing now, to greet the paparazzi and walk toward the school hall to place his vote ”.
Following Mandela’s footsteps along the path we entered the large what was then an Assembly Hall. It now serves as another museum. The most interesting display is a life size statue of Mandela (who I might add stood tall in more ways than one – he was 6 foot).
Time went quickly and before I knew it, it was time to head home
Another wonderful day out and about