Did you know?
Nelson Mandela first lived in No. 8115 Vilakazi Street, Soweto, with his first wife, Evelyn, for 12 years.
House 8115, Vilakazi Street, Orlando, Soweto, has become one of the most famous addresses in South Africa.
It is the house where former South African President Nelson Mandela lived, on and off, for more than 14 years.
In his landmark autobiography, The Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela describes coming back here in 1990 upon his release after 27 years in prison: 'That night I returned with Winnie [his then-wife] to No. 8115 in Orlando West. It was only then that I knew in my heart I had left prison. For me No. 8115 was the centre point of my world, the place marked with an X in my mental geography.'
Vilakazi Street is the only street in the world to have housed two Nobel laureates − the other being Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.
In 1961, Nelson Mandela left No. 8115 for life on the run as a political activist. He was arrested and imprisoned in 1962.
From April 2008 to March 2009, the Mandela House was closed for repairs and restoration. Now, No. 8115 has been entrenched as one of South Africa’s most significant heritage sites because it tells the tale, in sound, film, interpretive panels and guided tours, of the Mandela family during the apartheid era and beyond.
You can still walk around the interior of the house as before, but now there is a highly narrative element to your experience, which is enhanced by the addition of a visitor centre. Staff at Mandela House allow 20 visitors in at a time for ease of access.
The Mandela House is managed by the Soweto Heritage Trust, which was formed in 1997 with then-President Nelson Mandela as its founder. Its two main projects are focused on the Mandela House and the nearby Hector Pieterson Memorial.