Plans have been revealed for the UK’s first centre dedicated to the Anti-Apartheid Movement.

‘The Anti-Apartheid Legacy: Centre of Memory and Learning’ will be based at the former headquarters of the exiled African National Congress (ANC) in London.

Between 1978 and 1994, the four-storey building at 28 Penton Street was a hub for coordinating international opposition to South African apartheid, and was home to ANC leaders Oliver Tambo and Thabo Mbeki, later president of South Africa.

The building was recognised in 2014 with a commemorative plaque.

A sectional perspective of the planned Anti-Apartheid Legacy Centre of Memory and Learning

Uninhabited for many years since, the transformation is expected to cost in the region of £3m. The charity leading the redevelopment, The Liliesleaf Trust UK, has been awarded a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £1.2million.

The project has also been supported by The Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund and Garfield Weston Foundation along with other funders. A fundraising campaign has begun to raise the final capital required.

The new Centre will provide a permanent base to explore the history of the movement, the South African liberation struggle and the UK’s central role in this history.

A proposed design for the entrance to Anti-Apartheid Legacy Centre of Memory and Learning

A main exhibition space will showcase the history of 28 Penton Street and the Anti-Apartheid Movement by displaying a historic archive, featuring written correspondence with Nelson and Winnie Mandela, original posters and photographs.

A temporary gallery space will be created for changing displays to highlight contemporary issues such as migration, inequality and cultural marginalisation.

The space will also house an accessible archive resource and study space, and a programme of learning, volunteering and employment opportunities, and workspaces for small businesses, charities and community groups.

A community hub is also to be created, with a community garden for outdoor learning, community planting and wellbeing activities, and a school outreach and volunteer programme.

Professor Chris Mullard, Chair of the Liliesleaf Trust UK said the charity “will strive to reduce inequality and promote inclusivity through its programmes and events which empower as well as inform contemporary communities and which work towards redressing longstanding imbalances in the perceptions and experience of UK’s multi-cultural heritage.”

Stuart McLeod, Director England – London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said “a fantastic new space will be created that is fitting for such an important historic movement and for the people it represents.”


Back to top