After his release from Robben Island, Nelson Mandela, as the first democratically elected President of South Africa, received a significant number of gifts from the South African and international community in recognition and appreciation of the role he played in the struggle for peace, freedom and democracy in South Africa and the world.
In accepting the gifts he indicated that he did so on behalf of all people of South Africa and further expressed the wish that the gifts be displayed for the benefit and appreciation of the nation, at or near his home village, Qunu, in the Eastern Cape. It is for this reason that the museum comprises the impressive Bhunga building in Mthatha, the Qunu component and the open-air museum at Mvezo.
The historic Bhunga building accommodates an exhibition outlining the journey of Nelson Mandela, as told in his own words and narrated from his acclaimed biography - "A Long Walk to Freedom". The Bhunga also showcases an international selection of diverse gifts, received by Madiba during his presidency.
Mvezo, and its local community convey an era of unique tranquillity. Set within a majestic and unique landscape is the foundation of Mandela's birthplace where one is awed by the peaceful silence of the environment into which the infant Mandela was born.
At Qunu, the young Rolihlahla assumed the name Nelson, as a Christian name was the custom at the missionary run school that he entered. In his book "Long walk to Freedom", Madiba relates that Qunu is where he spent the happiest moments of his childhood. Today Qunu is a modest yet vibrant village where a Youth and Heritage centre is currently being built. Activities planned for the centre include youth programmes and tourism development initiatives.