Nelson Mandela’s former home turned into a luxury hotel

Want to trace the life of Nelson Mandela? Just stay at the Sanctuary Mandela, the former residence of the late South African president in Johannesburg, which has now been converted into a boutique hotel. Opening in September 2021, the hotel promises its guests a journey into life and the struggles of anti-apartheid and icons, including a restaurant fine dining which serves dishes inspired by Mandela’s favorite foods.

The Sanctuary Mandela, as the luxury hotel is called, was the former president’s first home in Johannesburg after being released from prison for 27 years.

In that house, he has hosted famous people such as Bill Clinton and British supermodel Naomi Campbell.

Surrounded by lush gardens, this property has nine rooms that can accommodate a total of 18 guests. The walls are also covered in memorabilia, which pays special homage to the global icon. The design of this hotel is a blend of the rich history of South Africa while maintaining a modern and glamorous look and feel.

The property is designed to be a space of reflection and serenity, and offers guests the opportunity to connect and experience Mandela’s welcoming nature up close. Mandela lived in the house between 1992-1998.

One of the key figures of the Mandela Sanctuary is Xolisa Ndoyiya, who has been the cook for Mandela and his family for more than 22 years. He is now part of the team responsible for preparing the hotel’s meals, some of which are inspired by Mandela’s favorite dishes. He often calls Mandela as Tata.

“You can’t go wrong with Tata. When you serve vegetables, they should be varied. When he says ‘please color it’, he means the colorful vegetables on the plate. He really likes oxtail stew. We also make ravioli from this oxtail stew. Anyway, three times a week, we have to serve a complete stew of oxtail with vegetables and beans which is called ‘umngqusho’ in our language.”

After enjoying lunch at the Mandela Sanctuary, a guest named Lindi Matabane mentioned the reasons why she liked the Spanish villa-style hotel with the red roof.

“This place is amazing, whoever came up with this concept, it’s amazing. Everything is beautiful, even the employees and the service. It seems you can feel Mandela’s presence somehow in this place and as I walk around the hotel. Even though he’s dead, he’s still alive. alive, he is still around us.”

Room rates at the Mandela Sanctuary vary from 4,000 rand ($264.27) to 15,000 rand ($988.18) a night for the Presidential Suite.

Former South African President Nelson Mandela's bedroom becomes the Presidential Suite at the Sanctuary Mandela boutique hotel in Johannesburg, November 19, 2021. (GUILLEM SARTORIO/AFP)

Former South African President Nelson Mandela’s bedroom becomes the Presidential Suite at the Sanctuary Mandela boutique hotel in Johannesburg, November 19, 2021. (GUILLEM SARTORIO/AFP)

Mandela’s dream of a more equal South Africa remains aspirational. But his ruling party, the African National Congress, has been criticized for not doing enough to improve the country’s unequal welfare state.

About 10 percent of South Africa’s richest people control more than 90 percent of the country’s wealth according to the government’s Human Rights Commission. [ab/uh]