On the 17 July, I was fortunate enough to be invited to Ohlange High School along with the Durban Tourism team.

 Ohlange High School is the first educational institution in South Africa to be founded by a black person. This was an incredible experience as Nelson Mandela cast his first vote in the first Democratic elections in 1994 at Ohlange High School, that was founded by Rev. John Dube in 1901.

It was an honour to hear the family members of the Dube family speak about their meetings with Mandela and how he inspired them to make a difference in South Africa. The former mayor of Durban was also present at the ceremony along with numerous chiefs that had met Mandela and had a story to tell. The ceremony was truly beautiful, from traditional dancers to our National Anthem, I was in awe of these incredible men that have made South Africa what it is today.

After the ceremony we all met at the hall of Ohlange, where we each received a white rose. We had a shorter ceremony, where the Dube family was given a dove to let free in honour of Mandela. It was breath taking to watch this, as I have never experienced it before. The freedom of the doves being set free and their symbolic meaning of peace was truly beautiful. We all then planted three trees, for hope and life around the hall. Although I left the planting up to the honourable Dube family, I must admit…I was tempted to help 🙂

We all then gathered in the hall, where we lay our roses down in honour of Mandela and each wrote a tribute to him, on the canvas displayed throughout the hall.

This was an incredible experience, to say the least. I am humbled and honoured to have met the courageous men I have and to have been part of such a symbolic ceremony.

Thank you, Tata and John Dube for sharing your vision and making South Africa the beautiful place it is today.