“The Londolozi staff village remains a model for what’s possible in the world. It represents a clear intention – to be a space where love, tolerance and harmony may exist among a diverse group of humans. It is this collective energy that powers the Londolozi enterprise. Not its leopards or its bathrooms. Its humanity is what sets it apart. It’s not perfect, but there exists a clear and deliberate commitment to become a fully inclusive and vibrant South African community of the future. Where everyone feels like they belong. Where everyone can express themselves freely. Where there is a subtle yet active celebration of each others’ differences. It’s these intangibles that mean Londolozi’s repeat guests make up 40% of their visitors on any given day. And why the place runs at over 90% occupancy. For 28 years this village has raised, guided and supported me. It’s helped me to understand what it means to be South African – a gift that keeps on giving.” ~ Alex Van Den Heever
As is tradition here at Londolozi – we celebrate Mandela Day!! We take the time to pay homage to Nelson Mandela, the beloved Madiba, father of our country, whose remarkable presence at Londolozi left an indelible mark on this land, its people, and humanity as a whole. We have deep gratitude for the lessons he imparted to the Londolozi Village during his time with us and for the wisdom, grace and inspiration that is this extraordinary man.
A Legacy of Courage and Hope
Nelson Mandela, an icon of peace and justice, stood as a symbol of hope during one of the most tumultuous periods in South Africa’s history. His unwavering commitment to equality, reconciliation, and forgiveness changed the course of a nation. Mandela’s impact on South Africa and the world as a whole goes far beyond political boundaries; it resonates in the hearts of every person who has ever felt marginalised, oppressed, or forgotten. His legacy is a testament to the transformative power of resilience, compassion, and the pursuit of justice.
Londolozi and Nelson Mandela
Londolozi welcomed Nelson Mandela into its embrace during a time when he sought solace and reflection. Offering him the chance to reconnect with nature, find peace in the company of wildlife, and draw inspiration from the rhythms of the wilderness. In the vastness of Londolozi, Mandela found a sanctuary for his soul, a place where he could reflect, recharge, and reaffirm his commitment to the ideals he held dear.
“During my long walk to Freedom, I had the rare privilege to visit Londolozi. There I saw people of all races living in harmony amidst the beauty that mother nature offers. There I saw a living lion in the wild. Londolozi represents a model of the dream I cherish for the future of nature preservation in our country.” – Nelson Mandela
In tribute to Mandela’s relationship with Londolozi, we established Mandela’s Way — a symbolic pathway that winds through our Futuristic African Village. As you walk along this sacred trail, step into his footsteps and reflect upon Mandela’s journey, his resilience, and the enduring spirit of freedom. In 2009 Simon Max Bannister created “Freedoms Way” a land art installation that sits in the middle of Mandela’s Way.
Freedom’s Way brings attention to the difficult path we must all walk to reach our greatest potential. The words cut from steel, ground the positive values that should be nurtured. The four steel bars represent the obstacles of life that master us – we pass through them to liberate ourselves. Artist Statement – Simon Max Bannister
We recently had the privilege of collaborating with Cape Town artist Stefan Smit. Our vision was to create a mural of Nelson Mandela in the heart of the Londolozi village, to capture the essence of his phenomenal life but also pay tribute to his enduring legacy in our community. Stefan is extraordinarily talented. Using vibrant colours that reflect Mandela’s indomitable spirit, and infectious energy, mirroring the beautiful blend of cultures and diversity found in our village.
On completion of the Mandela Way Mural, we caught up with Stefan and asked him a few questions about the process and his time in the Londolozi village…
How did you feel when painting Mandela’s portrait in the Londolozi Village, right where Mandela himself dreamed of a brighter South Africa?
It felt like a tremendous honour to be stood where such a legend of our country once walked and have the opportunity to pay him tribute through my artwork.
How do you feel knowing that you have contributed to ensuring that his legacy of Ubuntu lives on within the Londolozi village?
I really felt welcome when staying in the village and painting at Londolozi. We were welcomed with open arms and treated very kindly. So I hope that sense of warmth we felt is reflected in my work.
What does #TheLondoloziEffect mean to you having lived and worked in and amongst the Londolozi village?
For me the Londolozi Effect is a long lasting feeling of serenity and community that has me itching to return.
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Today as we reflect on the legacy of this remarkable man’s life, we urge everyone around the world to embrace the spirit of Mandela and the lesson of Ubuntu.
Bring the Spirit of Ubuntu into your home
Ubuntu, an ancient African philosophy, encapsulates the essence of Nelson Mandela’s vision for a united South Africa. It embodies the belief that our humanity is intertwined, and we are defined by our ability to see ourselves in others. Mandela embodied the spirit of Ubuntu in every aspect of his life. At Londolozi, this philosophy lives as a driving pillar of how we do things in the world, as it resonates through the hearts of all who encounter its majestic landscapes. Londolozi fosters a deep connection to nature, emphasising the interdependence of all living beings, and inviting guests to embrace the beauty of diversity.
Honouring Mandela Day at Londolozi
Mandela Day, celebrated on July 18th each year, is a day dedicated to giving back to communities and emulating the values that Nelson Mandela cherished. At Londolozi, this day holds a special significance as it commemorates the profound impact Mandela had on the reserve and its people. On this day, visitors and staff alike come together to participate in acts of kindness, compassion, and service, continuing Mandela’s legacy of making a positive change in the world. Today we have invited our staff and guests for 67 minutes of walking in Mandela’s footsteps, planting aloes and trees around our village. From educational initiatives to conservation efforts, Londolozi’s commitment to uplifting communities and protecting the environment echoes Mandela’s spirit.
Embracing Mandela’s Legacy
As we celebrate Mandela Day, we are reminded of the profound responsibility we have as individuals and as a collective. Mandela’s legacy teaches us that we all have the power to create positive change, no matter how small our contributions may seem. Nelson Mandela’s time at Londolozi represents more than just a period of respite; it signifies the eternal connection between nature, humanity, and the power of Ubuntu.
Today, we call to bring the spirit of Ubuntu into every home around the world. Our hearts are filled with immense gratitude as we gather to celebrate the life and legacy of an extraordinary man. As we reflect on the profound impact Mandela had on South Africa, Londolozi, and humanity as a whole, let us carry his legacy forward, embracing the values he cherished: justice, equality, and the belief in our shared humanity and pledge ourselves to a brighter, more inclusive future.
May the spirit of Mandela Day continue to inspire us to make a positive difference, not only on this special day but every day of our lives. Together, we can create a world that reflects the indomitable spirit of Madiba and honours the beauty and interconnectedness of all life on our precious planet.