Gracing the leafy suburb of Houghton is a grand old dame, standing proudly in all her glory with
walls that will forever hold the secrets of what transpired during the years that former president, Mr
Nelson Mandela stayed in this beautiful gifted house.

Sanctuary Mandela is a 5 star boutique hotel that comprises of 9 bedrooms, a large heated
swimming pool, 2 conference rooms, Insights restaurant and friendly, smiling staff.
When entering the property that Mr Mandela lived in from 1992 until 1998, one of the first things to
catch ones eye is the beautiful garden. The original fever tree that was in garden did not survive
during the reconstruction process that began in 2018. A new tree now stands next to the pond of
reflection and flanked by the magnificent Mandiba roses that were created by Keith Kirsten for the
centenary year celebration. Walking up the pathway to the entrance is signage depicting the three
most important words for Nelson Mandela – democracy , freedom and peace.

The large archway at the entrance, graced by 2 original pot plants is where Mr Mandela would
welcome guests. He would also often sit on the green bench or stand below the arch and read the
morning newspaper. Glancing through the business section he would look for companies that were
performing well on the JSE and then invite the CEO’S over for breakfast where he would discuss
various initiatives with them that required investment like education and the children’s hospital. In
the archway there is a statue of Nelson Mandela commissioned by sculptor Andre Prinsloo who
also sculptured the statue at the Union Buildings in Pretoria and the statue in Nelson Mandela
Square in Sandton.

The white painted section is the original house with all the original wooden window frames that
were refurbished. The two bricks sections were added on to enhance the concept of the hotel.
Some of the original bricks from the house with the Coronation logo were used to build the
reception desk, the company later changed their name and become known as Corobrick. The
original house had 5 bedrooms, three of the these were kept and the other 6 were added. Every
bedroom has a name given to Mandela during his life. Its not often a person can say they slept in a
Presidential suite where an actual president lived. Room 4 is the smallest, it represents the prison
cell that Mandela stayed in while on Robbin island. Outside each room is a picture that was
commissioned by artist John Meyer, 16 images in total were painted and the Sanctuary Mandela
got print number 67 of the collection which is significant as it is a reminder of the 67 years of
service by Nelson Mandela to the country. The art around the hotel is updated very 6 to 8 months
making return visitors eager to follow more of the late presidents story.

The original study of the house is named the Dalibhunga room, meaning the convenor of meetings
in Xhosa which is exactly what happened here where some very influential people met and
documents of great importance were signed.
Heading towards the bar area there is a large wooden art piece hanging on the wall, this is some of
the original parquet flooring that was salvaged in 2018 after the squatters had moved out. At this
point the house was in shambles and it was not safe to walk on the second floor. Images hang at
reception so patrons can appreciate the different stages of life that this property has experienced.
Kim H Interiors was responsible for the tasteful and classy decor of the establishment , reviving the
elegant house while at the same time remembering its story.

Insights restaurant was inspired by former American President Mr Bill Clinton who would visit Mr
Mandela at his home. Pictures adorn the wall sharing fond memories of these encounters. The
restaurant can cater for 35 people and the mouth watering food is prepared by none other than
Mama Xolisa Ndoyiya, the former chef who prepared meals from Mr Mandela for 20 years. She
has created a menu that includes some of his favourite dishes and various ingredients come fresh
from the garden. Chef Ndoyiya’s food leaves guest feeling content and satisfied and more
importantly wanting to return for more. The Cape Malay mussels on the menu are a definite win.
When Mandela had completed his term as president he moved to the house in 12th avenue in
Houghton. The Nelson Mandel Foundation then moved into the premises in 1999 but left in 2002
when they had out grown the space. The breath taking hotel then opened its doors in September

Ample parking, superb wifi connection, friendly and attentive staff and all one could want from a
bedroom this hotel is a gem waiting to be discovered in Johannesburg.
When staying over remember to request a tour of the hotel, the guide is very happy to impart his

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela 18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013

By Marion Kate