History


Nelson Mandela is one of the great moral and political leaders of our time: an international hero whose lifelong dedication to the fight against racial oppression in South Africa won him the Nobel Peace Prize, the presidency of his country and the accolades of the United Nations – and the world – when it was announced that his birthday, on July 18, will now be known throughout the world as Mandela Day.

Since his triumphant release in 1990 from more than a quarter-century of imprisonment, Nelson Mandela has been at the centre of a most compelling and inspiring political drama – the building of a post-apartheid South Africa.

As president of the African National Congress and head of South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement, he was instrumental in moving the nation toward multiracial government and majority rule. He is revered everywhere as a vital force in the fight for human rights and racial equality.

The Nelson Mandela Museum was opened at three sites: Mvezo, Qunu and The Bhunga Building in Mthatha, on February 11, 2000 by Nelson Mandela himself, the Ministry of Arts and Culture, as well as traditional and Civic leadership. It is today visited by thousands of South African and international tourists every year. It is one of South Africa’s most significant heritage institutions.

‘We have not taken the final step of our journey, but the first step on a longer and even more difficult road. For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. The true test of our devotion is just beginning.’

The most compelling written history of Mr Mandela’s life is his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom.

The Nelson Mandela Museum, positioned as it is in the area of his birth, upbringing and eventually, his retirement, offers an authentic journey through the sites, spaces and landscapes of his life. It commemorates his life and work, from childhood to adulthood, through its exhibitions, publications, collections, educational and cultural programmes.

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