At least one South African President slept here. And Naomi Campbell.
The former home of Nelson Mandela, the longtime anti-apartheid activist who after years in prison went on to become South Arica’s first-ever Black head of state, is now a boutique hotel.
The New York Post reports guests at Sanctuary Mandela can sleep in the same room Mandela, who served as the country’s first president from 1994 to 1999, did or choose from eight other suites that go for $260 to $1,000 a night.
And while they are there, they can take in the Mandela memorabilia on the walls throughout the home, or dine in the on-site restaurant featuring a menu inspired by Mandela’s favorite dishes — including ravioli in an oxtail stew and a Cape Malay-style fish — cooked by his longtime personal chef, Xoliswa Ndoyiya.
The hotel, located on a quiet street in the wealthy Sandton suburb of Houghton, can accommodate up to 18 guests.
Mandela, who died in 2013 at the age of 95, moved into the Johannesburg home in 1992 after spending 27 years in prison, and lived there until 1998. During that time, he hosted many famous guests there, including former President Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jackson, Magic Johnson, former First Lady Michelle Obama and the supermodel Campbell, according to published reports. It was later used as the headquarters for the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Mandela had been arrested and jailed in 1962, and, following a trial, was sentenced to life imprisonment for conspiring to overthrow the state. His years in prison were split between Robben Island, Pollsmoor Prison and Victor Verster Prison, and he was released in 1990 by State President F. W. de Klerk under growing domestic and international pressure and fears of racial civil war. The two men then led efforts to negotiate an end to apartheid.
Mandela’s time in prison is memorialized in the hotel through window frames bearing his nickname “Madiba” and his Robben Island prison number “466/64.”
[New York Post] — Vince DiMiceli