Mandela museum in Qunu sees increase in visitors

The number of visitors to the Nelson Mandela Museum in Qunu, Eastern Cape, has spiked over the past two weeks, the museum said on Wednesday.

"Last year tour guides took two or three visiting groups a day to the sliding stone. Over the past two weeks this number has increased to between 15 and 20," spokesperson Nokuzola Tetani said in a statement.

The visitors, both local and foreign, were interested in seeing the historically important sites associated with Mandela.

"Such sites included the sliding stone where Mr Mandela used to play, and the ruins of his primary school."

She said the "once sleepy village" was becoming a South African pilgrimage site. Visitors were keen to visit Mandela's grave, but were not yet allowed to.

At present they could see it from a nearby hill. Tetani could not say when the public would be allowed to visit the grave as this depended on the family.

The visitor numbers were creating opportunities for the museum's accredited tour guides, youths from Qunu. "The museum has exposed the guides to a variety of important sites in Qunu and neighbouring villages of Mvezo, Tyalara and Mqhekezweni."

She said the museum was helping to establish a Qunu tourist guide association.

Former president Nelson Mandela died in Johannesburg on December 5. He was buried in Qunu on December 15. – Sapa

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