If you are travelling between Swaziland and Komatipoort a must see, and underrated site,is the Samora Machel Monument, and Museum at Mbuzini. The site is about 30 km off the R571 along a tarred scenic road alongside the Mozambique border. An easy drive.
On Sunday, 19 October 1986, the Russian crewed Tupolev – Tu 134(4 members), carrying Samora Machel, two Cuban Doctors,senior Mozambique officials, Zambian and Zairian Ambassadors,female crew and diplomats, crashed into the Mbuzini (Lebombo) mountains bordering RSA and Mozambique. The aircraft clipped the mountain top and barreled down the leeward mountain top, killing 35 people, with nine survivors.
This accident occurred at the height of the conflict between SADEC countries and South Africa.
Three independent investigations were done by the Russians, Mozambicans and the South Africans (Margo), but no definitive cause for the crash was discovered, amongst many theories.
The Monument site at the resting place of the wreck, has extensive displays of wreckage including the two engines, art work comprising engine parts, documentation, video footage, details of the Machel dynasty and much more. The most poignant aspect of the monument are the 35 steel fluted pipes representing the persons whom died. In the wind the fluted pipes emit a sound that is said to emulate a flying aircraft and cries of the doomed passengers.
The Monument was designed by Mozambican architect Jose Forjaz, and opened by President Nelson Mandela on 19 January 1999.
The local guides(one being Mduduzi, are knowledgeable, and portray a very balanced explanation of this controversial event.
Well woth a visit to this important historic site.
Enquiries : 0313 7901193, or Nkomazi Local Municipality – 013-7900386
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