Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory

Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Houghton, Johannesburg houses the very office where former South African president Nelson Mandela worked his last years in public service.

From the end of his single term as president in 1999 to the official conclusion of public service in 2004, Mandela sat at the desk you will see, surrounded by his books, photographs and other memorabilia.

Former president Nelson Mandela’s office.

Former president Nelson Mandela’s office. (Image: Khadija Patel)

As part of its commitment to Mandela’s legacy, the Nelson Mandela Foundation is dedicated to the preservation of archives, documents, awards and photographic records that chronicle the late global icon's life.

Although access to the archives themselves is strictly for academics and researchers by prior arrangement, the two exhibitions are open to everyone from 9am to 4pm on weekdays.

Entry to the permanent exhibition, The Life and Times of Nelson Mandela, is free of charge, but it is a good idea to book a tour beforehand via the online booking facility.

A second exhibition venue houses temporary displays open to the public free of charge. They are changed two to three times a year. An exception is the current display – Unthreading Madiba – that celebrates 2018, Mandela’s centenary year.

The centre is Braille-friendly, with signage on railings, and buttons to be pushed for excerpts of speeches. It is also interactive, with LCD screens supporting various aspects of the exhibition. Set aside 45 minutes to enjoy a guided tour of the facility.

Although compact, the building is also geared to host events and conferences in its public auditorium that seats 110.