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Monday, November 9, 2015

Inside Mandela's House

 I wrote this post after visiting the Nelson Mandela National Museum, or simply the Mandela House.  The home of Nelson Mandela from 1946 to 1962.  Located at number 8115, at the corner of Vilakazi and Ngakane streets, the Mandela House is a short distance up the road from Tutu House, the home of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu in Soweto. 

Both anti-apartheid heroes ended up Nobel Peace Prize winners.

The house itself is a single-story red-brick matchbox built in 1945. It has bullet holes in the walls and the facade has scorch marks from attacks with Molotov cocktails, scars of the restive Apartheid years. Standing in Madiba's small room gave me a graphic sense of the austerity of the average Sowetan home.

Here in the South Western Township, outside Johannesburg, Vilakazi Street prides itself as the only precinct in the world where two Nobel Peace Prize winners have lived. Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu were neighbours for years in this Soweto neighbourhood.

Today the Mandela House is one of the big tourist attractions in Soweto, visited by hundreds of tourists daily.
The Mandela House gives the visitors a unique opportunity to walk through the same doorways and the rooms Nelson Mandela slept in before and after 27 years in jail.This exclusive report gives you an unprecedented view into the Mandela House in Soweto.

The Mandela House managed by the Soweto Heritage Trust attracts visitors from across the world who stream into the house daily to see a few personal items of Mandela, like the bed he slept in, his boxing gloves, the world championship belt given to Mandela by Sugar Ray Leonard, family portraits as well as share the space he once lived in. Visiting this home was a seminal moment in my career as a reporter, and I can only liken this to being on the 38th parallel in-between North and South Korea earlier this year.

However both places are both historic, pregnant with symbolism, but different in their own rights.

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