Mthatha, formerly Umtata, the homeland of the Xhosa people, is now part of and the capital of the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.
The city sits picturesquely on the banks of the Mtata River – the name derives from the word thatha, meaning taker, because of the damage and fatalities caused by the flooding river.
Former president Nelson Mandela was born nearby in a village in the town, Mvezo. One of the greatest attractions in Mthatha is the Nelson Mandela Museum in the Bhunga Building in Owen Street. This museum displays a large variety of historic documents and images of Madiba’s “Long Walk to Freedom”.
Other Mthatha activites include the Madiba trail which is also named after former President Mandela and leads hikers to Qunu, where he grew up and past the University of Fort Hare where he studied. The Mthatha dam quenches the town’s thirst and also provides a myriad of outdoor activities to the visitor, including picnicking and water sports.
The area is surrounded by lush, evergreen forests and unspoilt countryside. A large attraction to the area is the isolation, peacefulness and tranquility. There are many hikes and trails to walk, either guided or unguided for the more experienced hiker. It’s also a wonderful area for fishing and bird watching.
Nelson Mandela Museum
Living memorial of Nelson Mandela in South Africa provides exhibitions, artifacts, images, guided tours and a heritage trail that follows in his footsteps.
The multi-purpose stadium is linked to the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup was designed to seat 17 500 spectators with facilities including media boxes, VIP suites and an athletics track.
Mthatha Town Hall
Umtata still retains many of its earliest buildings, of the neoclassical style so popular in colonial times, including the Town Hall.
This small shopping mall has anchor stores, smaller shops and food stores. Here you will find Game, Edgars, Checkers, Musica, Clicks, Wimpy, Steers, Debonairs, as well as a fish and chips shop.