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KKholvad House in Market Street, Johannesburg, has had an interesting role in South African history. It was built in 1942 by a group of Indians who came to South Africa from the labourer community of Kholvad. They built flats as a means of raising funds to educate poor children back in their home village and here in South Africa.
The five-storey building was designed and built by a brilliant young architect, Rusty Bernstein, who was later arrested with Ahmed Kathrada and was one of the accused at the Rivonia Treason Trial. It was the home of Robben Island prisoner Ahmed Kathrada, for more than 16 years. It was also the place where Nelson Mandela uttered these profound words, “the first seeds of non-racialism were sown and a wider concept of the nation came into being”.
FFlat 13 became a haven and a beacon of non-racial social integration, a hub of intense political debate and tradition. In 1960, when Mandela and Oliver Tambo’s law firm was forced to close down due to the State of Emergency, Mandela continued seeing clients at Kathrada’s flat. In 1962, Kathrada was placed under house arrest.
TThe following year he broke his banning orders and went underground to continue his political work, but was later arrested and, with Mandela and others, sentenced during the Rivonia Treason Trial to life imprisonment.
Kholvad House, in Market Street, is located close to Chancellor House, at the corner of Fox and Gerard Sekoto streets in Ferreirasdorp, directly across the road from the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court. The Chancellor House is where Mandela and Oliver Tambo opened their legal practice, Mandela & Tambo. It was the first black-owned and run legal practice in the country and defended those who could not afford legal representation as victims of apartheid laws. The practice eventually closed down in 1960 when Tambo went into exile and Mandela was arrested. When the law firm closed in 1960, Nelson Mandela moved to Kholvad House.
This five-storey building was restored in 2011 and now makes it onto the list of formidable Johannesburg heritage gems. Local residents and visitors interested in retracing the footsteps of the late former president, Nelson Mandela, can do so by hopping on a Rea Vaya bus to Soweto to learn more about this legendary man.
Take a tour of Soweto, Johannesburg’s vibrant city-within-a-city – apart from learning the history of the struggle against apartheid, you can immerse yourself in a modern urban vibe with lots to do.
Soweto Bicycle Tours let you explore South Africa’s most famous township’s streets with a qualified guide, taking in historical sites like the former homes of Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Tutu.
South African urban architectural design tours introduce visitors to the eclectic array of styles and influences behind the country’s most iconic buildings.
South Africans are a diverse mix of peoples from Africa, Europe, Asia and elsewhere, and the many museums scattered around the country preserve rich histories, heritages and cultural traditions.
South Africa is a country of rich religious diversity, protected by the Constitution, so explore sacred architecture and spiritual traditions at our many historic places of worship.
Wits Art Museum – part of the University of the Witwatersrand – houses an African art collection that was started in the 1920s and includes masks, photographs, paintings and more.
There are many well-known historic and contemporary art works on display in art museums and galleries in each of South Africa's 9 provinces, with many important permanent art collections centred in the country's major cities.