Taking place between October 1963 and the following June, the Rivonia Trial led to the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela and his co-accused. They were convicted of sabotage and sentenced to life imprisonment. The trial is named after Rivonia, a Johannesburg suburb where Lilieslief Farm is situated. This former farm is where African National Congress activists had gone to ground and where they were arrested by the State security police. It is synonymous with the birthplace of the armed struggle against apartheid through the creation of the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) unit.
Today, Lilisleaf is a heritage site and museum of apartheid resistance. Cedric’s Cafe, on the premises, is so called because liberation activists had code-named the farm "Cedric". The cafe is open to the public -- patrons need only pay an admission fee if they opt for a tour of the historical site.
On arrival, visitors are shown a 12-minute introductory film in the Liberation Centre. An exhibit named uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) and the Africa Hinterland Safari Truck explores the history of the ANC's military wing. It reveals the inner workings of the Africa Hinterland company and other covert MK operations. Africa Hinterland was founded as an operator of overland tours. These were popular with British, Australian and Kiwi youth visiting the so-called ‘frontline states’, the name given to the postcolonial neighbours of apartheid South Africa.
Under the auspices of then MK Chief-of-Staff Joe Slovo, the company was originally registered in Britain. Africa Hinterland operated a converted Bedford truck whose routes extended as far south as Cape Town. Luggage and camping equipment were stored under the Bedford's passenger seats, but with access only from outside the truck body. Unbeknown to South African border officials, the cavities went an additional 10cm deeper along the entire 5m length of the passenger section, but were accessible only from under the passenger seats.
In the compartments under the bottoms of unsuspecting tourists, MK is estimated to have smuggled up to 30 tons of arms into South Africa between 1987 and the early 1990s. This accounted for as much as 90% of all weapons brought into the country in the span leading up to the negotiated end of apartheid.
In Rooms 2 - 5 of the Lilisleaf exhibits, you may probe the many theories about how the police discovered that ANC leaders were hiding out there. Rooms 6 - 9 cover three devastating political trials of the 1960s, the Rivonia trial, the Little Rivonia trial and the trial of anti-apartheid hero Bram Fischer. Rooms 10 - 13 were the living quarters of "David Motsamayi" aka Nelson Mandela, Lilisleaf's most famous resident.
Round out your tour on the other side with a look at the thatched cottage. This humble structure hosted many a meeting of anti-apartheid fighters, and it was here that the police made the arrests leading to the Rivonia Trial.
With a collection spanning more than a century, the James Hall Museum of Transport deserves the title of "the largest and most comprehensive museum of land transport in South Africa", which it conferred upon itself. Go and be gobsmacked at the number of contraptions that have been dreamed up for getting around Johannesburg (It is on Turf Road, Wemmer Pan).
The exhibit of animal-drawn vehicles covers the years 1870 to 1910. Much as modern cars all have names for specific builds, so too among the carts of yesteryear are the Surrey, the Governess and a Victoria, which was mostly used as a taxi in towns and cities. The Zeederberg coach on display is a replica, the original being housed at Museum Africa. There's even a horse-drawn tram that was in service until 1906.
Also of local interest are the Cape carts, in two-seater as well as four-seater variants. A prototype of the all-purpose vehicle, the Kakebeenwa (jaw-bone wagon) has gone down in history for its role in the Voortrekker migration. Rounding out this part of the collection are a number of other ox-drawn wagons.
The cycles on display include penny-farthings, an early tandem and tricycles for riders of all sizes. In the motorised two-wheeler section are bikes by the likes of Levi, Birmingham Small Arms and German manufacturer Neckarsulm, but there really isn't enough space in this post to do justice to the thematic displays and exhibits in the different halls.
For the little boy inside every man of a certain generation, one section is dedicated to fire-fighting equipment. These fire engines range from a 1913 Merryweather Steam Pump to the 1947 Dennis boasting an 8-cylinder Rolls Royce engine. There is also a 1936 Magirus Deutz with a ladder that can be extended to a height of 45 metres.
In the buses and coaches section is a 1952 RT London Bus. This is still in use, ferrying passengers on sightseeing tours across Johannesburg. The 1958 GUY double-decker diesel bus might have been lost to posterity, except for the fact that the museum acquired it from the now defunct Durban Historical Transport Society.
Among more than 2,500 exhibited items, the museum boasts a noteworthy car collection. There's a Model-T Ford, a 1963 Porsche 356 C Coupé and a black 1959 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud. Of all these, the 1900 Clement-Panhard is the oldest. One of the electric models on display is an example of the Joule, a five-seater passenger car built by Cape Town's own Optimal Energy.
Johannesburg owes the James Hall Museum of Transport to the late Jimmie Hall, a car nut who established it together with the City Council in 1964. Entrance to the museum is free 7 days a week except for being closed for lunch from 12 to 1 p.m.