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Camino de Madiba / They Way of Madiba (Suggested)

Suggested Name:

Camino de Madiba / The Way of Madiba


With prof Iain McLean of Oxford, professor of Constitutional Law, with whom I shared the concept on the Camino in Spain. He is exited about the project and keen to be one of the first walkers

Comments by members will be appreciated. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

This project is NOT currently linked to:
(but may include some of the attractions in future)

Specific questions on the concept itself could be directed to
Dawie Jacobs: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


This was taken at the end of my walk in Santiago de Compostela. This is also where I wrote the first draft of the Madiba hiking trail. The walk energized and inspired me to bring this to fruition on my return to SA.

 "In Santiago de Compostela celebrating the end of my walk".

(As presented at the Annual General Meeting of HOSA on 15 March 2014 by Ambassador Dawie Jacobs, one of the visionaries and developers of the project).


To develop a hiking trail similar to the Camino/The Way in Spain stretching from Qunu to Robben Island to celebrate the life of Madiba and to perpetuate his legacy and the values he personified.


Longer hiking trails like the well-known Camino in Spain, are increasingly becoming popular among people of all ages, all walks of life and all nationalities. At the same time the Camino in Spain has become a valuable source of tourism, job creation and economic development in the rural areas on the hiking route. The Camino enjoys UNESCO heritage status.


During his preparation to walk the 800km stretch of the Camino in Spain in early 2013, Ambassador Dawie Jacobs, met with his former DIRCO colleague Mike Basson and his wife Maryke Basson who were previously posted to Spain and also had knowledge of the Camino. This was where the vision of a Camino-type hiking route to perpetuate the legacy of Madiba was born. Dawie utilized his walk to investigate the functioning of the Camino and wrote the first draft document in Santiago de Compostela after completing his walk. On his return, he and the Bassons further refined the project and presented it to key players.


Given Nelson Mandela’s international stature; the values he personifies; and his inspirational “Long Walk to Freedom” from his village in Qunu to Robben Island will attract and inspire people from all over the globe to participate and will serve to keep his legacy alive for future generations.

Developing such a trail is in line with South Africa’s key priorities of promoting economic development specifically in the areas of job creation, rural development  and tourism. In this way Madiba’s legacy will continue to contribute towards a better life for all South Africans.


  • Nelson Mandela Center of Memory. During a presentation to them on 13 August 2013 they expressed their full support and willingness to contribute in respect of content for material on the Hiking Route.
  • Minister of Arts and Culture, being responsible for matters pertaining to our national heritage. During a meeting in his Cape Town Office on 19 September 2013 the Minister expressed his full and enthusiastic support and also paved the way for a meeting with the National Heritage Council (NHC).
  • Minister of Tourism. During a meeting with him in his Cape Town Office on 19 September 2013 he expressed his full support to the project.
  • National Heritage Council (NHC). During a meeting with the CEO in his Office on 04 November 2013 he also expressed his full support and offered their cooperation. It was agreed that the establishment of a suitable entity to take this forward should be the next step.

After intensive further discussions there was consensus among the drivers of the project that given the size and the nature of the project, the optimal route would be for the Minister of Arts and Culture to establish a Declared Institution in terms of section 3(2) of the Cultural Institutions Act, Act No 119 of 1998, as amended. In terms of the Act the Minister should Institute a Council. A detailed written recommendation has been made to the Minister  on 28 February 2014.

Discussion have also taken place with role players in the private sector and the responses have been overwhelmingly positive.


The project was presented to the Annual General Meeting of HOSA on 15 March 2014 by Dawie Jacobs. The Ministers of Arts and Culture and of Tourism were also invited to participate. The Minister of Tourism indicated that he was abroad and could unfortunately not participate. The meeting unanimously expressed their full support to this deserving project.


Registration to walk the “Long Walk/Trek” or portions thereof that will include:

  • “Long Walk” passport (which is stamped with a “visa” at each overnight destination)
  • Information booklet/guide (Nelson Mandela Center of Memory will assist with content).
  • Certificate of completion (a minimum of 200km should be completed).
  • “Long Walk” Medal.


  • Reservations, Accommodation, Transport, Security, Luggage Assistance, local Tour Guides and Security Shepherds.


In the spirit of Madiba’s experience, modest clean overnight accommodation is suggested. The idea is that existing hiking routes and accommodation such as campsites, farms, bed and breakfast, guests houses,  backpackers and even old prisons be utilized as far as possible and that additional accommodation be developed where necessary. Accommodation could be built in prison style with a communal court-yard that could be fenced off. This will at the same time provide security to hikers. These units should be self-sustaining eco-cultural business models embracing the traditions of the regions, offering accommodation, ablutions, meals and a communal Boma area. There should be a uniform standard on the whole route. Appropriate names could be assigned to these overnight facilities to reflect the values personified by Madiba such as Freedom, Justice, Equality and Reconciliation. Places of historic interest, specifically related to Madiba, should be incorpaorated as far as possible and further museums and exhibitions could be incorporated in the overnight facilities.


  •          The development of routes should be done in consultation with relevant stakeholders
  •          Point of departure is to utilize existing hiking routes and infrastructure as far as possible/feasible.
  •          A developmental approach is suggested in order to obtain community participation and development of routes in a phased manner.

The central route to be developed from Robben Island to Qunu reflecting Madiba’s journey;

Initial development of 200 km route sectors;


  • East London to Qunu; or
  • Grahamstown to Qunu; or
  • Or cicular route linking liberation museums eg the one in Umtata.


  • Robben Island to Victor Verster, to Cape Town City Hall and Parliament.


Route adapted from:


All the groundwork has been done and the project presented to the Minister of Arts and Culture with detailed suggestions on implementation.

The time is now ripe for a public discussion since this is a project that should belong to all the people of SA.

The final name for the suggested route will still have to be decided on.