On 19 October 1986, the aeroplane, in which President Samora Machel of Mozambique and his staff and prominent politicians were returning to Mozambique from a meeting in Zambia, crashed at Mbuzini in the Lebombo Mountains. President Samora Machel and 34 others perished in the crash. In commemoration of the tragic event, the circumstances of which are not yet resolved, a monument was designed by Mozambican architect, Jose Forjaz.

It consists of 35 steel tubes symbolising the number of lives lost in the air crash. The pillars cast long shadows over the base, and the wind causes permanent whisperings through incisions in the pillars. It was unveiled by President Nelson Mandela on 19 January 1999. As a tribute by the South African Government to an outstanding African leader the memorial site was upgraded and a museum was officially opened on 19 October 2009.