Saturday, July 18, 2009

Mandela Day: A Look at the "Homes" of Mandela

AP Photo/Debbie Yazbek-Nelson Mandela Foundation

SPECIAL SATURDAY EDITION--World renown human rights activist and former South African President Nelson Mandela turns 91 today. In an effort to start an official Mandela Day to be celebrated every year on his birthday (July 18th), numerous celebrities are participating in various events--including a birthday bash hosted by former President Bill Clinton and a concert tonight with performances by Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, Josh Grubin, Queen Latifah, and others.

In honor of Mr. Mandela, Celebrity Digs HQ thought we'd show you the places he lived throughout his years as a public figure.
Below is his modest tract home in Soweto (now part of Johannesburg, South Africa). He lived here for several years until 1961, when he was forced to go underground in his struggles against apartheid. The home was recently restored and turned into a museum.

Photos: Soweto Heritage Trust

Mr. Mandela was subsequently arrested in 1962 and spent the next 27 years in prison. The first 18 were spent in the prison cell below on Robben Island, South Africa, where he performed hard labor in a lime quarry. He had the floor for his bed and a bucket for his toilet.

Photo: Wikipedia
He was transferred in 1982 to Pollsmoor Prison in Cape Town, where he remained until he was freed in 1990. Below is his prison cell. (We apologize for the tiny photo. It's the only one we could find.) Although the cell looks large, he was isolated from other prisoners and lived a lonely existence.
And, finally, below is his home today in Johannesburg. It appears to be a stately home, befitting a person of his stature. In light of all that he endured, we can't think of anyone more deserving.

Photo: David Henderson

Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela! Happy Mandela Day too! More details on the Mandela Day Concert here.

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