On the hill overlooking the nation's capital, Freedom Park keeps watch on the maturing democracy. Here, the story of Africa –and the liberation of South Africa and its people – is told. It is a place of peace and growth.
"…the day should not be far off, when we shall have a people's shrine, a Freedom Park, where we shall honour with all the dignity they deserve, those who endured pain so we should experience the joy of freedom". – Nelson Mandela, 1999
Freedom Park is a monument to human rights, dignity and freedom, and a memorial to those who sacrificed their lives to secure liberty. It tells the South African story, starting 3.6 billion years ago, at the dawn of humanity, through to the rise of African civilisations, colonialism, the struggle against apartheid, and present-day democracy.
The heritage site, set on 52 hectares on Salvokop Hill in Tshwane, overlooks the capital city of Pretoria, offering visitors a panoramic view of the metropolis.
It is primarily a cultural institution comprising a series of memorial sites expressing the common themes of humanity and freedom. Compelling and distinctive African architecture, archives, landscaping, sculpture, and imagery are all used to explain the history and heritage of the region. A distinctive feature across the park is the Mveledzo, spiral pathway linking each installation.
Five themes are used to share this information:
Freedom Park is a cultural centre dedicated to telling South Africa's diverse stories, from its architectural style to the sacred symbols scattered across its grounds.
The park chronicles the African and South African stories, from Earth's early beginnings to humanity emerging; from African civilisations to colonialism and industrialisation; and from apartheid to democracy.
Freedom Park is a memorial honouring those who sacrificed their lives to win freedom.
The park celebrates indigenous knowledge unique to South Africa's diverse cultures.
Freedom Park acknowledges and honours the spirituality of all the continent's peoples as a force for reconciliation and healing.
A visit to Freedom Park is a liberating, cleansing and inspirational experience, a pilgrimage back to wholeness. The park invites local and international visitors to celebrate the diversity of the country's histories and personal stories, add their own stories, and pay tribute to the many South Africans who sacrificed their lives in the struggle for liberation and freedom.
At heart, it is a reminder of where we come from, connecting our past to our present, and is a beacon to a future in which human rights, liberty and diversity are enshrined.