The UK’s first centre dedicated to anti-apartheid heritage

The UK’s first centre dedicated to anti-apartheid heritage

Person taking a picture of the South African flag on a phone camera at The Anti-Apartheid Legacy: Centre of Memory and Learning event
People at a community event discussing The Anti-Apartheid Legacy: Centre of Memory and Learning. Courtesy of The Liliesleaf Trust UK.

National Lottery Grants for Heritage – £250,000 to £5million

Date awarded
Local Authority
The Liliesleaf Trust UK
Award Given
This project will restore the former headquarters of the African National Congress at 28 Penton Street, London, creating a new centre to share the stories of South Africa's liberation.

We have awarded £1.2million delivery funding to create the new Anti-Apartheid Legacy: Centre of Memory and Learning. It will highlight the international struggle against apartheid, focusing on the UK's anti-apartheid movement and wider solidarity with the cause.

A main exhibition space will display historic items from the archive, including written correspondence from Nelson Mandela and Winnie Mandela.

A temporary gallery with changing displays will highlight contemporary issues, such as migration, inequality and cultural marginalisation.

To encourage learning and engagement with this important heritage, the centre will also provide:

  • an archive and study space
  • a programme of learning, volunteering and employment opportunities
  • workspaces for hire to small businesses, charities and community groups

Professor Chris Mullard, Chair of the Liliesleaf Trust UK, said: "Through developing the centre, we strive to reduce inequality, promote inclusivity and inform and empower communities. Our programmes and events will work towards redressing longstanding imbalances in the perceptions and experiences of the UK’s multicultural heritage.”

Architect drawing of The Anti-Apartheid Legacy: Centre of Memory and Learning.
A view of what the inside and outside of the new centre might look like.


A space for the community

A new community hub and garden will be created for outdoor learning, community planting and wellbeing activities. Intergenerational conversations, heritage tours and oral history recordings will help to collect stories at risk of being lost. A school outreach and volunteer programme will offer a chance for everyone to be involved.

Historic importance of 28 Penton Street

The building is an important site for black-led social heritage. It was a hub for coordinating international opposition to South African apartheid between 1978 and 1994 and was home to African National Congress leaders, Oliver Tambo and Thabo Mbeki – who later became president of South Africa. The building has been uninhabited for many years, but will be completely restored thanks to this transformational project.

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