Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory

Houghton, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa. GPS 26°08’54.7”S 28°03’29.5”E

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The Nelson Mandela Foundation is a source of inspiration and dedication to the legacy of Nelson Mandela.

The Foundation was established by Nelson Mandela in 1999 after serving one term as South Africa’s first democratically elected president. It functioned for the first five years as Mandela’s post-presidential office. Then it transitioned to a non-profit organisation focused on memory, dialogue and legacy work by creating the Nelson Mandela Foundation.1 The Nelson Mandela Foundation (the institution) is located in the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory (the place) in Houghton, Johannesburg.

The Foundation is the custodian of a vast archive called The Archive at the Centre of Memory (ACoM) that captures the endless, dispersed, and fragmented story of Nelson Mandela’s life. The Foundation responds to hundreds of queries each year about Mandela, ACoM and the use of intellectual property.2 The Foundation understands the importance of continuous recording, fact checking, accessibility, and preserving this rich resource. Extensive measures have also been undertaken to preserve and digitise the physical collections to international standards to promote accessibility of these items for all. 

The Foundation seeks to help build a just society that values diversity, learns from the past, and pays attention to the many voices that have shaped our shared history. Its dedication to providing an integrated and dynamic information resource on Mandela’s life and times forms the basis of its mission. The Foundation promotes long-term solutions to the pressing social issues of our day and preserves history. By doing thorough research, analysis, and assessment, the Foundation aims to establish itself as a reputable change agent connecting with people in South Africa and worldwide. The vehicles through which this work is undertaken are Dialogue and Advocacy, Archive and Research and lnternational Mandela Day.3

The Nelson Mandela Foundation narrates its commitment to effecting societal transformation. This institution serves as a dynamic memorial to Mandela’s vision, bridging historical insight and forward-looking dialogue. ACoM is an integral part of the Foundation and provides a rich tableau of Mandela’s journey, offering exhibitions, scholarly resources, and educational programmes. This venue is replete with graphic depictions that capture Mandela’s essence, reinforcing its mission as a bastion of knowledge and a catalyst for change, encapsulating the spirit of one of the world’s most influential leaders. Visitors are welcomed by a smaller replica of the Mandela statue from Sandton, set against the distinctive design of Mandela’s fingerprint on the glass facade. Inside, a rich tapestry of Mandela’s graphical representations unfolds, affirming the Foundation’s role as an educational beacon and an agent for societal change.

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From the Archive at the Centre of Memory (ACoM)

Item code: ZA COM NMG-685

Title: Nelson Mandela Foundation office design includes a model.

Description: A print of a proposed design for new offices for the Nelson Mandela Foundation (now Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory) in Houghton (incorrectly labelled).

Size: 73cm x 97cm

Medium: Printed paper [original in watercolour and ink]

Other items related to the Nelson Mandela Foundation in ACoM:

1) ZA COM RCB-1259: The Nelson Mandela Foundation Prospectus.

2) ZA COM MR-S-1070: Address at the Opening of Mandela House (now the Nelson Mandela Foundation).

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We express our sincere appreciation for the continued partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and their consent to feature the foundation within the Named after Nelson project.


1. Nelson Mandela Foundation (2024). Nelson Mandela Foundation Website. [Accessed 15 February 2024].

2. Nelson Mandela Foundation (2024).

3. Nelson Mandela Foundation (2024).

Photography © 2023 Celeste McKenzie and Robert Harland