The Groot Drakenstein correctional facility (the former Victor Verster Maximum Security Prison, near Simondium (which is between Franschhoek and Paarl) is a working prison, that was renamed in 2000.
Groot Drakenstein Prison is on the map chiefly because this was the last place in which Nelson Mandela was incarcerated and it was through these gates, that Mandela walked to freedom in 1990. Mandela was transferred to this prison, from the Maximum Security Prison on Robben Island in 1988, in preparation for his release on the 11th of February 1990.
A larger than the life-size bronze statue of Mandela was unveiled, at Groot Drakenstein Prison. It is a beautiful statue showing Mandela with raised fist – a well-recognised gesture of defiance, usually accompanied by the freedom slogan – "Amandla Awethu"- isiZulu meaning- 'power to the people'.
Groot Drakenstein Prison is an isolated, out of the way place in which to place such a statue, but the location has been deliberately chosen to stand in the very place where Mandela took his first steps outside of the prison as a free man. The statue was commissioned from South African artist Jean Doyle by Tokyo Sexwale, a well known businessman who himself spent 13 years on Robben Island. The statue is a tribute to every person who made sacrifices in the fight for freedom!