Liliesleaf Farm in Rivonia was where senior ANC members planned the overthrow of the apartheid government and were arrested during a police raid in 1963. The Liliesleaf Farm Museum aims to give it its rightful place in South Africa’s history.

Did you know?

Nelson Mandela was already in prison when the Lilliesleaf Farm police raid took place.

Liliesleaf Farm was for many years a meeting place and hide-out for top African National Congress (ANC) and South African Communist Party (SACP) personnel.

Liliesleaf Farm is widely regarded as the birthplace of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), and was the site of the Liliesleaf Farm police raid on 11 July 1963 that resulted in the Rivonia Treason Trials and eventual incarceration of many senior ANC leaders, including Nelson Mandela (who was not arrested in the raid), Govan Mbeki, Ahmed Kathrada, Raymond Mhlaba and Walter Sisulu.

The South African Communist Party bought the farm in August 1961 to use as headquarters for their efforts against the apartheid regime. At the same time, the ANC was moving its emphasis away from passive resistance and beginning to focus more on an armed struggle.

The Goldreich family moved in to masquerade as the white owners of the property and Nelson Mandela himself lived here while posing as a cook-cum-gardener under the name of David Motsamayi.

The trustees of the Liliesleaf Farm Museum want this landmark to rival Robben Island as an historical tourism attraction. Its aim is to create a unique facility that will ensure the preservation of the history and legacy of the farm.

The first phase of the Liliesleaf Farm Museum opened in 2008 and the full plan is to eventually have a boutique hotel, conference facilities, museum and learning centre on site.

Currently a number of travelling exhibitions visit the facility which also has plenty of educational projects under way. There is also a 60-seater conferencing facility and resource centre available, with catering provided.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Liliesleaf Farm Trust
Tel: +27 (0) 11 803 7882/3/4

How to get here

Liliesleaf Farm is at 7 George Avenue in Rivonia, Johannesburg. It is on many bus and taxi routes, and easily accessible by car.

Best time to visit

Liliesleaf Farm Museum is open from 8.30am to 5pm during the week and 9am and 4pm on weekends and public holidays. It is closed on December 25 and 26 as well as January 1.

Around the area

The Montecasino Entertainment Complex Sandton City

What will it cost

A standard self-guided tour is R65, and a guided tour R110 for adults. Children between the ages of 8 and 17 cost R30 and R70 respectively for self-guided and guided tours. Under 7s are free.

Length of stay

Give yourself at least half a day for the tour.

Where to stay

There are numerous guesthouses, hotels and award-winning boutique hotels in and around the Rivonia area.

What to eat

There's an excellent cafeteria on site at Liliesleaf selling light meals and refreshments.

Related articles