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HISTORY


Drakenstein Correctional Services, previously known as Victor Verster Prison, officially opened its doors to 1500 young offenders on 01 October 1963.The initial prison precincts were just over 204 hectares of land and comprised of only one farm, “Klein Switzerland” (Little Switzerland). After extensive negotiations with a number of farmers, government also acquired three more farms (Eensaamheid, Klipbank and Watervliet) which increased the total hectares to 402.

One of the proprietors of these grounds was a certain Mr. Victor Verster, who, after he sold his farm to government, became a commissioner within the then Prisons Department. Many farmers from the surrounding areas were furious with government’s plan to establish a prison in this peaceful valley of Wemmershoek. A certain Mr. Tienie Malan (farm owner of an adjacent farm) refused to accept the idea of creating another Tokai in this area. Many parents submitted representations to the office of the Minister of Prisons where they claimed that the safety of their children were at stake. Read More ***



“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
The true test of our devotion to freedom is just beginning.
I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter, I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more to climb.
I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.”

-Nelson Mandela

MORE THAN A RACE

But 27 for Freedom is more than a running event. It is an experience everyone should participate in at least once in their life time. It is a historic, yet fun-filled, family day of reflection, celebration and nation building for the tens of thousands that will participate from across the sports, social, business and political landscape. It contributes directly to the preservation and promotion of the Nelson Mandela legacy and the historic `right of passage’ that his walk to freedom represents to current and future generations of South Africans and all freedom loving people.

SUSTAINING THE LEGACY

The Athletics Club at Drakenstein Correctional Services in partnership with the Drakenstein Municipality and the Cape Winelands District Municipality, as part of the municipalities’ IDP initiatives contributes to incremental growth and upliftment, particularly for the rural and farm communities and children.The local and district municipalities furthermore assist the Drakenstein Correctional Services Athletics Club to train, recruit and transport young athletes from mostly rural and farm areas. This recruitment and training will hopefully one day culminate in one of these youngsters winning the 27 For Freedom race. In addition to the aforementioned, the organizers have also considerably raised the prize money for junior participants and also nominated the Drakenstein Athletics School Children Development Program as one of the official charities to the event.

ECONOMIC GROWTH

To bring those from across the economic and social divides closer together, SMME’s, farmers and tourism entrepreneurs from the region will be afforded the opportunity to market and sell their goods and services to visitors at the Farmer’s Market, SMME and visitors centers on race day. The event will promote and grow the tourism potential, stimulate income generation and in turn, will also showcase the event.

SOCIAL

Visitors and participants will enjoy jailhouse rock from the local in-mates band, listen to local poets, the DCS choir and be entertained by local and national entertainers covering a range of musical genres while the children are engaged in `kidz corner’ supervised by trained volunteers.

REWARDS

The reward for many is tracing the steps of Madiba and our nations walk to freedom. This is a walk or run every South African should strive to do. For others it is the opportunity to build new friendships, social cohesion and being part of a nation rooted in wellness of body, heart and mind, contributing to a positive lifestyle, health and building of national unity; The winners of the main race receive a coveted medal, cash prizes and the new floating trophy. All other winners and participants receive medals. Every South African, should in their lifetime, walk/run in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela.