Visiting Cape Town wouldn’t be complete without stopping and checking out some of the most iconic statues in and around the Mother City. It’s the home to some intriguing public statues. With Heritage Month coming up soon, the sighting of historic statues is an inspiring way of commemorating Cape Town’s heritage.
Take a tour and stroll through the bustling city streets and have a look at iconic sculptures of historical figures. Don’t be surprised, as they blend into the surrounding bustle of the Mother City – so much so that it’s easy to mistake them for real Capetonians.
Here are some of the most iconic statues in Cape Town:
1. Statue of Jan van Riebeeck
Wouldn’t it be amazing to stand on the very spot where Jan van Riebeeck stepped ashore in 1652?
The statue was a gift to the city by Cecil Rhodes and was unveiled in May 1899. Rhodes chose to situate the statue on the very spot that Van Riebeeck set foot ashore.
You’ll find it on Adderley Street, one of the Mother City’s most bustling highway streets. The statue has been overshadowed by the city bowl’s tall buildings. View the Dutch settler, Jan Van Riebeeck boasting with his sheathed sword and carrying his walking stick in his right hand.
Picture: Statue of Jan van Riebeeck/ Facebook
- Location: Heerengracht Street, Foreshore, Cape Town,
2. Statue of Nelson Mandela
Grab a glimpse of Mr Mandela’s outfit that he wore when he made one of his most iconic speeches. Wearing a grey suit identical to the one worn on the day and even his accessories, including a polka dot print tie, belt buckle and a white pocket square. In his hand, he holds a page bearing the first paragraph from the speech. The same text is featured in braille on the page too. He also holds a pair of spectacles in his hand.
Overlooking the Grand Parade, the statue waves from the balcony of one of the oldest and most central public spaces, Cape Town’s City Hall. Stand on the same balcony where Nelson Mandela first addressed thousands of eager South Africans with the words: “Friends, comrades and fellow South Africans, I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy and freedom for all”.
The bronze 1.95m statue pays tribute to a remarkable man in South African history and recalls a moment that held so much promise and opportunity, and which most South Africans will never forget.
- Location: Darling Street, City Hall, Cape Town
3. Nobel Square
The Nobel Square pays tribute to South Africa’s four Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, including Nkosi Albert Luthuli, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, former State President FW de Klerk and former President Nelson Mandela.
Standing between the larger-than-life bronze sculptures of the four Laureates is a must-do while snapping a picture with the beautiful Table Mountain as a backdrop. These sculptures were created by internationally acclaimed artist Claudette Schreuders. In honouring these great men, visit this place of reflection.
- Location: Watershed, 17 Dock Road, Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town
4. Just Nuisance
Sure there are many extraordinary dogs that left their paw prints in history, touching the hearts of those who lived among them. In addition to these (and many other) honourable creatures is Simon’s Town’s very own famous great dane, Able Seaman Just Nuisance.
What makes this Great Dane so special? In 1939, Just Nuisance became the first and only canine Royal Navy member in history.
Able Seaman Just Nuisance continues to capture the hearts and imagination of visitors to Simon’s Town. Head down to the seaside town, Simon’s Town and visit the iconic canine on Jubilee Square.
- Location: 13 St George’s Street, Simon’s Town, Cape Town
5. Cecil John Rhodes Statue
While strolling through the beautiful and historically rich Company’s Garden in Cape Town, pass the Cecil John Rhodes Statue. Make sure to pass the iconic statue that was erected in 1908. Have a look at a full-body replica of Rhodes wearing a three-piece suit, standing with his left hand raised and hand pointing north.
This probably leaves you asking why? It’s symbolic of Rhodes’ imperialist vision of extending the British Empire deep into the African hinterland.
- Location: Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town
Picture: Nobel Square/ Facebook