Ten years to the day after his release on 11 February 1990, the Nelson Mandela Museum opened its doors. Nelson Mandela insisted it was not just to be a static collection but a living memorial to his values and vision. It was to inspire and enrich all who visit it, serve as a catalyst for development and should share the heritage and resources linked to him.
The Department of Arts and Culture now known as the Department of Sport, Art and Culture took his words to heart and pledged funding for the Nelson Mandela Museum as part of its series of national legacy projects that honour South Africa's liberation heroes.
The Nelson Mandela Museum is more than a place; it is an experience that allows visitors to follow the footprints of a man whose long walk to freedom began in the foothills that rise from the banks of the Mbhashe River. His journey took him back to the village of Qunu where he put down roots and grew tall and strong. The young man listened to and learned from his elders, moved by their stories of battles for their land.
His battle for liberation would be waged a long way from the rural landscape of his birth. It would take him from studying law at the University of Fort Hare in Alice, to the mines in Johannesburg, from the capital cities of the world and back to a prison cell on Robben Island before he emerged from his long imprisonment, unbowed and victorious on a summer day in February 1990.
His gift is a living one, one that embodies his commitment to the principles of human rights, freedom, peace and democracy.
This constantly evolving legacy is housed in the Nelson Mandela Museum, with its two main sites: The Nelson Mandela Youth and Heritage Centre in Qunu, and the Bhunga Building in Mthatha.
The Nelson Mandela Museum offers a memorable cultural experience that gives insights into the life of Nelson Mandela, with guided tours and a heritage that follows his footprints.
WHAT TO SEE AT THE NELSON MANDELA MUSEUM, BHUNGA BUILDING, MTHATHA
The Meaning of Mandela: strips back the layers of his life to reveal him as a comrade, leader, prisoner, negotiator, and finally, statesman. It shows the human values that underpin the man.
Mandela and Luthuli: In Conversation: is an installation that brings the interactions and conversations between the Nobel laureates to life for ordinary people through a compilation of photographs and quotations from writings - all of which give this exhibition vital and inspiring insights.
Gifts of the Nation- the museum exhibits a collection of gifts donated to Nelson Mandela by South Africans and International community.
SECOND SITE: NELSON MANDELA MUSEUM YOUTH AND HERITAGE CENTRE, QUNU HAD BEEN HANDED OVER TO PUBLIC WORKS FOR RENOVATIONS
The Nelson Mandela Museum Youth and Heritage Centre, a centre built in Qunu to serve as a Catalyst for economic and training development through educational & Leadership program aimed at preservation of democratic values, Art & Craft and development projects for the upliftment of the youth within the O.R. Tambo District Municipality and South Africa. The Youth and Heritage centre has been officially handed over to the department of Works for renovations in order to be on par with urban Youth and Heritage Centres. The site has been officially handed over to the department of Public Works and will be closed for a period of 18 months as from the 12th of August 2019.
The closure of the Centre will help meet the high expectations of our clients and to reposition the Youth and Heritage Centre as a tourist destination of Choice. This closure will further give an opportunity to our respected tourists to continue visiting Nelson Mandela Museum Bhunga Building site in Mthatha for viewing of Nelson Mandela's rare gems called Gift of the nation.
The facility is one of the "must see" attractions in the entire narrative of Nelson Mandela. The youth and heritage centre boosts of a sliding stone where Rholihlahla used to play with his peers, ruins of a rondavel where he was named Nelson on his first day at school, not far from the centre there is a family grave site, a church where he was christened and a residential place where he lies and buried. The Youth and Heritage centre has accommodation facilities that includes Executives rooms and chalets, conference centre, restaurant, dining hall, sports hall, ablution facilities, sporting fields and exhibitions halls.
The multidimensional youth and heritage centre of the museum will undergo a condition based maintenance including building, electrical, civil works and upgrading of sewer system. The renovations of the site will be approximately at an amount of R30 million. The closure of the site will further create job opportunities for the local community of Qunu and surroundings.
"We fully understand the inconveniences that will be incurred during this time especially by our reliable tour operators who have been with us for the past nineteen years. As the management, we humbly apologise about the closure of this site. On positive side, this renovation will help elevate the centre and open more infrastructure development programs in order to reposition Nelson Mandela Museum sites as sites that narrates the humble beginnings of Nelson Mandela", said Senior Manager for Public Engagement and Marketing Ms Nontlahla Tandwa.
Corner Nelson Mandela Drive & Owen Street Bhunga Building Mthatha, 5009
Saturdays and Public Holidays (except Workers Day): 09h00 to 15h00.
Sundays: 09h00 to 13h00
The Museum accept after-hour bookings made in advance.
No entrance fee but donations are encouraged.