The Nelson Mandela House is located in Johannesburg, South Africa. The site aims to preserve, present and educate visitors about the legacy of Nelson Mandela and the history and heritage of the Mandela Family. The center aims to promote human rights, democracy and reconciliation and mutual respect and tolerance between the races in South Africa just as Nelson Mandela did in his life time.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner was born in 1918. He attended university in Johannesburg and joined the ANC, rising to a prominent position in 1952. He joined the South African Communist Party and became involved in military sabotage campaigns against the apartheid government in the 50s and 60s. In 1962 he was arrested and convicted of conspiracy to overthrow the State. He served 27 years in the notorious Robben Island prison. In 1990 Mandela was released and he led the ANC to victory in the first multi-racial elections in 1994. Mandela went on to peacefully lead the nation into a new era, becoming a hero to many and a leader in social reforms and human rights issues.
Mandela lived in the house at 8115 Orlando West, Soweto with his first wife. They divorced in 1957 and in 1958 he was joined in the home with his second wife, Winnie Mandela. The house, like hundreds of others in Soweto, was on a dirt road, it had a tin roof and a cement floor. There was a bucket for a toilet and they used paraffin lamps for light. On Mandela’s release from prison in 1990 he returned to the house for a brief time as it was the place he had always thought of as home.
The surroundings of the house are significant as it is situated in the former township of Soweto, once a dangerous, poverty stricken slum occupied by Black South Africans under the Apartheid government. The Mandela House offers a context and setting which reinforces Mandela’s background and life story.
Former South African President Nelson Mandela, the first non-white president of the country lived in the Soweto house from 1946 and into the 1990s. The house has since been donated to the Soweto Heritage Trust and has been declared a National Monument.
The house has been restored using original materials to retain the authenticity and a new Visitor Center has been constructed. The house and exhibition installations reflect the different eras of the Mandela history. The stories are told through recordings and film clips as well as interpretive panels and photographs.
Bishop Desmond Tutu’s house is located near the Mandela House.
The Mandela House is open from Monday to Sunday 09:00-16:45. It is possible to take a guided tour and entrance is R60 for adults and R20 for children and students.