Mandela’s native village becomes pilgrimage site

Late former South African President Nelson Mandela’s hometown, once a “sleepy village”, is becoming a pilgrimage site, authorities said on Wednesday.

Since Mandela’s death, more and more visitors have come to the Nelson Mandela Museum in Qunu, Eastern Cape, where Mandela spent much of his childhood, the museum said.

Mandela, who died of illness in Johannesburg on Dec. 5 at the age of 95, was buried in Qunu 10 days after his death, reports Xinhua.

Last year, two or three visiting groups visited the Nelson Mandela Museum a day, but over the past two weeks this number has increased to between 15 and 20, museum spokesperson Nokuzola Tetani said in a statement.

Historically important sites associated with Mandela have become attractions to visitors both local and international, according to Tetani.

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

But Mandela’s grave is not open to the public. At present, visitors can only see it from a nearby hill.