The Icon’s Journey

The Icon’s Journey Marathon is an endurance event where participants commemorate the former State President & global Icon Tata Nelson Mandela by cycling/running a well-chosen adventure, heritage route.

103km Clarkebury Institution
35km his Qunu home
12km Nelson Mandela School of Science
7km L.M Mandela JSS
All distances finish in Mvezo village, where he was born.

The runners and cyclists came as far as Western Cape and Swaziland for the inaugural The Icon’s Journey Marathon to experience the heritage route of the Eastern Cape .  Athletes who take part in the event have the privilege of touching the birth places of Iconic freedom fighters like Walter Sisulu, Mama Albertina Sisulu (Ngcobo Municipality Start), Nelson Mandela & King Sabata Dalindyebo (KSD Local Municipality), Thabo and Govan Mbeki (Mbashe Local Municipality Finish).  The experience of seeing and touching some of the landmarks of the route reduced some athletes to tears.

In the footsteps of Madiba

Following the passing of his father (Chief Mphakanyiswa Mandela), Madiba was 12 years old when his mother Nosekeni took him to Mqhekezweni Great Place (a landmark that lies at 50km mark of the 103km route).  This is where he says having the opportunity to see regent King Jongintaba Dalindyebo (who was his guardian) in action in the tribal courts of the great place taught him valuable lessons on justice and fairness, attributes he were to use in his fight for inequality.

The home of Mqhekezweni Great Place is now a National Heritage Site because this is where King Sabata Dalindyebo was born, a home where Nelson Mandela was brought up, the room where King Sabata Dalindyebo was born, and the rondavel where Nelson Mandela lived for 11 years are still preserved in their original state.

His love for his rural people of Qunu, a village where he first lived with his mother Nosekeni at the age of 2 years was evident because this is the same village he chose to be laid to rest next to his parents, some of his children and his own people.


The most gruelling and mind testing gravel route is designed in such a way that no matter where you start, 103km or  the 7km, cycling or running, you have to tap into your inner Madiba in order to finish the challenge.

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