Liliesleaf Farm, the secret hideout in Rivonia in northern Johannesburg, South Africa which served as a refuge for Nelson Mandela and other African National Congress activists, is slated to become a boutique hotel.
The property is managed by the Liliesleaf Trust, and the hotel developer is local hotel company Mantis Group, which runs game reserves and boutique hotels in South Africa.
According to the MOU signed by Liliesleaf Trust CEO Nicholas Wolpe, construction work is scheduled to begin later this year in June.
The hotel will have 48 rooms in 4 blocks of 12 rooms each, spread over 2 storeys. The estimated cost of the project is R75m and room rates would range in-between R2000 to R4000 per night.
Mantis CEO Adrian Gardiner told BusinessDay that the hotel will offer conference facilities, a spa, a business centre, restaurant and a wine cellar. He also added that the historical significance of the property would be kept in mind, and would have rooms themed after the Rivonai accused.
Nelson Mandela was arrested on Aug 5, 1962 and sentenced to 5 years in prison. After that, on 11th July 1963, Liliesleaf was raided and the ANC leaders arrested, which then led to the Rivonia Trial in 1963-64, in which ten leaders of the African National Congress, including Nelson Mandela, were tried for 221 acts of sabotage designed to overthrow the apartheid system. Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment and was incarcerated for 27 years.
The Liliesleaf Trust says it always had plans for a hotel as part of its Legacy Project. The Trust was established in Dec 2001 and Liliesleaf Farm was opened to the public in 2008.
Nelson Mandela photo – public domain; Liliesleaf photo courtesy The Liliesleaf Trust