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IIn the heart of Cape Town, on St George’s Mall, stands a century-old building designed by the famous architect Sir Herbert Baker. Built in 1903 to house the newly founded De Beers mining corporation, it was donated to the Mandela Rhodes Foundation in 2003 and now serves as their headquarters.
For many years the beautiful building, with granite quarried from Table Mountain, was known as Rhodes House after Cecil John Rhodes. Rhodes began a scholarship programme in the early 1900s to award bright young minds with the ability to study at Oxford University in England. In recent years the scholarship was taken on by Nelson Mandela, with the Mandela Rhodes Foundation being formed.
TToday Mandela Rhodes House not only forms the headquarters for the Foundation, but also has a number of rooms rented out to similar institutions. The top floor is used as a penthouse for VIPs and guests of the Foundation.
Mandela Rhodes Building
NNearby, a modern multi-storey building called Mandela Rhodes Place hosts a hotel, retail space and apartments. Four other historic buildings have been restored and integrated into the general area of the Mandela Rhodes Building.
The nearby hotel, which is linked to the Mandela Rhodes Building, shows Madiba’s life in 14 stages. From his childhood to his death, you can find information on how he lived and changed the face of South Africa forever. Along with artworks depicting him, there are a number of paintings and sculptures of other great struggle heroes such as Desmond Tutu. Be on the lookout for a piece of the Berlin Wall, which was gifted to Tata Madiba. The piece now sits outside the Mandela Rhodes House, symbolising freedom from oppression.
Cape Town is South Africa’s oldest city, but its encircling mountains, Devil’s Peak, Table Mountain and Lion’s Head, have witnessed a longer history than that described by its surviving historic buildings.
The Western Cape was the first place that Europeans settled in the country, in 1652 when Jan van Riebeeck’s three vessels landed at the Cape. As employees of the Dutch East India Company, they had come to establish a halfway station for ships travelling to and from the East. Their influence is evident in the buildings, some of which are 350 years old, and culture of the Western Cape.
Experience music, dance and food from across the country, as well as Tsonga crafts and Zulu beer-brewing; and don’t forget the magical clicking language of the San people.