Mandela Houghton

Nelson Mandela / Getty Images

Mandela’s Houghton home to become a five-star hotel

Mandela’s Houghton home is going to be converted into a hotel for tourists.

Mandela Houghton

Nelson Mandela / Getty Images

The announcement to turn Nelson Mandela’s Houghton home, in Johannesburg, into a five-star hotel for tourists, was announced by the Nelson Mandela Foundation on Wednesday.

Following the struggle icon’s release from prison, he lived in the Houghton house from 1992 to 1998. Houghton Estate is an affluent suburb to the North East of the city centre.

Sello Hatang, chief executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, confirmed that Madiba’s home would be renovated and converted into a five-star hotel. The announcement was made on Mandela Day, this year celebrating the centenary of the great South African liberator.

Read: No, you can’t sleep in Madiba’s Robben Island cell for R3.4 million

Hatang was addressing guests of honour at the home, including former president Thabo Mbeki and Struggle stalwart George Bizos. The foundation’s executive said:

“Today, on his birthday, we mark the inauguration of the property refurbishment project to make The Mandela Presidential Centre a reality.

Nelson Mandela was a traveller in his later life, who made a difference in the lives of those he met and those he travelled with. He had an impact on the places he touched and left a part of his beloved land wherever he went.

May we continue to be the travellers who make a difference.”

The Houghton house make-over is expected to begin before the end of this year. The foundation has employed a team of architects, engineers and heritage consulting experts to ensure the redesign process is done tastefully and with respect to the original workmanship.

The Mandela Presidential Centre

According to Business Day, the Mandela Presidential Centre will be a partnership between the Thebe Tourism Group and the award-winning hotel operator Miarestate Hotel and Spa.

CEO of Thebe Tourism Group, Jerry Mabena, commented on the residential refurbishment, saying:

“The desired outcome is for the house to be respected; this iconic home will be improved but we will keep the original aura.”

The plan to turn Madiba’s home into a hotel has already been met with criticism. The idea of commercialising the struggle icon’s legacy is frowned upon by purists.