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8 March 2013

Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory to open to the public

The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory is to open its doors to the public in August this year.

Artist's impression of the entrance of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory Artist's impression of the new entrance to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory

Through the work of the centre, we strive to help build a better country and a better world. – Sello Hatang, Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory spokesperson.

The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory is to become a space where visitors can actively engage with Nelson Mandela’s legacy.

Its premises at 107 Central Street in Houghton, Johannesburg, are being transformed into a public facility, interactive archive and venue for dialogue. Entry will be free, and by appointment only as the facility cannot cater to large numbers of visitors at once.

The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory focuses on three key areas: the preservation of resources that document the life and times of Nelson Mandela; the facilitation of dialogue that focuses on social issues; and Nelson Mandela International Day, which celebrates Mandela’s legacy and aims to inspire individuals to help change the world for the better.

The upper level of the centre is being transformed into an interactive space for visitors, with a permanent exhibition, the Life & Times of Nelson Mandela, that includes his post-presidential office. It will also feature a customised reading room for research and reference work, as well as facilities to host discussions.

On the lower level, a high-tech archival storage facility is being created for the centre’s archival collections. These will include Mandela’s personal papers.

Spokesperson Sello Hatang, currently head of Outreach and Communications, has just been named the new Centre of Memory CEO. He will take up the position on 1 June 2013, when current CEO Achmat Dangor retires.

Hatang says the centre will also feature some of the 15 temporary exhibitions that the Nelson Mandela Foundation helped to develop and which travel around the world.

The largest, entitled Nelson Mandela: Leader, Comrade, Negotiator, Prisoner, Statesman, is presently at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. Another, entitled Robert Sobukwe – Remember Africa, can be seen at Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg. Sobukwe founded the Pan Africanist Congress in 1959 and was its first president.

For Hatang, the aim of the Centre of Memory is to ensure that Mandela’s values and ethos are shared. ‘Through the work of the centre, we strive to help build a better country and a better world,’ he says.

Those seeking to make an appointment to visit the centre can send an email to nmf@nelsonmandela.org.

For more information, visit the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory website.