The late Nelson Mandela’s primary residence in Houghton, Johannesburg is set to be transformed into a "presidential 5-7 star tourism product", The Mandela Presidential Centre.
Set to be "a place of reflection", Thebe Tourism Group (TTG) and The Nelson Mandela Foundation have joined forces in the creation of the new offering announced on Monday, 6 November at World Travel Market (WTM) in London.
This project will see the "conversion of Nelson Mandela’s primary residence into a place of scholarship and reflection", says TTG, with the aim of creating an "avenue that will provide visitors with additional insights into the Mandela Heritage".
TTG CEO, Jerry Mabena says the project is expected to be ready for business in 2019.
The project aims to offer an experience inspired by Madiba's life while he resided and worked at the property, and Mabena says it will “create a special retreat and reflection hotel".
The Centre will consist of nine-bedrooms and will be a "boutique hotel that will attract a primary market of high-end business travellers and the diplomatic corps and scholars from around the world, and a secondary group of leisure travellers".
The hotel will also offer a fine dining restaurant where Nelson Mandela’s cook, Xoliswa Ndoyiya, will share the former president's favourite meals with hotel visitors.
According to TTG, the attractiveness of the site is that it offers visitors an opportunity to stay in the former residence of Nelson Mandela.
"The Nelson Mandela Foundation is a key stakeholder in this development, as the property owners, and the hotel will provide an experience inspired by Madiba’s life," says TTG.
Sello Hatang, CEO of Nelson Mandela Foundation says “Nelson Mandela was a walker and a traveller 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." He says that the Centre will be a reflection of these qualities.
Mabena adds that this “unique project" has "iconic status" and believes that "by creating products which enhance the scenic beauty and global political importance, more people will be enticed to explore tourism offerings in South Africa”.