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The Nelson Mandela Museum in Qunu survived a tornado

November 03, 2010


Just off of N2 and 30km from Mthatha is Nelson Mandela’s home village, Qunu, where Nelson Mandela spends a lot of his time, taking a break from city life. Up on top of the hill lays a cluster of buildings, a combination of stone and wood with breath -taking architectural feel that fills the whole space with great ambience. The conceptual plan of the museum as well as the corresponding spatial development framework by Architects Cohen & Judith won the museum in Qunu 2008 SAPOA  Awards.  

The museum, popular to local and international students, tourists, researchers, film makers and local communities because of its content, programming, and its open spaces, boasting accommodation and conference facilities, stood to a big test 03 November 2010 as it survived a big tornado. “I was walking towards the kitchen and I thought a helicopter was landing” says Mr Monde Mgodlana, a Caretaker for the  museum in Qunu, d 

escribing the intensity of the tornado.

Structural engineers sent by the musem and the Department of Public Works are already on site for damage assessment. “Emergency work will be complete today,  we regard this as a disaster” said Ntsikelelo Lingani, a Works Manager from the Dept of Public Works based in Mthatha.

The only affected building at the museum is the aphi-theatre, used for outdoor events. The roof shitting was blown away from its main structure. Jason Krain from TCN Architects said “there is no major damage, the roof damage is not affecting the integrity of any of its structures”. The guests are safe as the guestrooms and all other structures were not affected. The museum committee for safety and security also made an assessment and assured guests and everyone on site of their safety.

The museum was closed for two days, to allow for repair works as well as a safety measure.

The tornado ripped through the village blowing away roofs and trees however no people were injured at the museum as well as in the village.

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