A little known chapter in President Mandala’s history took place right in the midlands of KwaZulu-Natal. On August 5,- 1962, after evading the authorities for over a year, Mr Mandela, then 44, was· finally arrested at Tweedie, just outside Howick, thus signalling in his lengthy term of imprisonment and isolation on Robben Island. In his autobiography ‘A Long Walk to Freedom,’ he describes the event:
“It was a clear, cool day and I revelled in the beauty of the Natal Midlands countryside. Cecil (Williams, a white Theatre director and member of M.K.) and I were engrossed in discussion as we passed through Howick, 20miles North West of Pietermaritzburg. At Cedara (Tweedie actually) a Ford V8 filled with white men shot past us on the right. I instinctively turned round to look behind us and saw two more cars. Suddenly the front car signalled us to pull over. I knew in that instant my life on the run was over. A policeman introduced himself as Sgt. Vorster of the Pietermaritzburg Police. He asked me to identify myself. I told him my name was David Motsamayi. He nodded and asked me a few questions. Then he said, Ag, you’re Nelson Mandela and you are under arrest”.
On December 12, 1996, the people of Howick conferred the Honorary Freedom of the town upon President Nelson Mandela in recognition of his significant contribution in uniting the people of South Africa.