Mandela House – Soweto, South Africa - Atlas Obscura
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Mandela House

Soweto, South Africa

Nelson Mandela lived here with his family from 1946 until his arrest in 1962. 

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Nelson Mandela moved into this house in Soweto in 1946 with his first wife Evelyn and remained here until his arrest in 1962.

He became famous in South Africa for his political and anti-apartheid activism during this period. His second wife Winnie Mandela and their children remained here throughout his imprisonment. Winnie was subjected to routine harassment and imprisonment herself during her husband’s incarceration.

Mandela was released from prison in 1990, and the next few years were marked by the end of Apartheid and political turmoil. Mandela was elected President in 1994 and was the country’s first Black head of state. His government was known for dismantling the institutionalized racism that characterized the decades of apartheid and fostered racial reconciliation.

The house was destroyed by a fire in 1988 and was rebuilt by the community. The Mandela House was awarded public heritage status in 1999. The house is now a memorial site and museum managed by the Apartheid Museum on behalf of the Soweto Heritage Trust. 

Vilakazi street is famous itself, not only for being home to the Mandela family but also to Archbishop Desmond Tutu. It’s the only street in the world that has been home to two Nobel Peace Prize laureates. 

Know Before You Go

The Mandela House is located in Soweto, in Orlando West about 30 minutes west of central Johannesburg. It's on the corner of Vilakazi St and Mvubu St. Rates vary, international visitors cost R60, visitors from the African Union cost R40, children and students are R20. 

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