Nelson Mandela Foundation

Invitation to Cover: Exhibition Opening – Reality Check: Walter Sisulu – Accused #2
From: Nelson Mandela Foundation
Date of Publication: 11 April 2022

Following the official launch earlier this year, the Archive at the Centre of Memory (ACoM) will be opening a new virtual reality exhibition titled, "Reality Check: Walter Sisulu - Accused #2", based on the original audio recordings from The Rivonia Trial. The opening of the exhibition is taking place on the 13th of April 2022, at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Johannesburg.  

Over 250 hours of audio recordings of the Rivonia Trial have been digitised and restored, and some of the content is now being presented in this exhibition, along with animated virtual reality. The Nelson Mandela Foundation believes that this is a celebration of the unique heritage that the digitised sound archives present to the South African public, who have previously not been able to access the recordings due to their obsolete audio format.  

The opening of the exhibition will be accompanied by a conversation between the Foundation’s Head of Leadership Development, Professor Verne Harris and Anthropology lecturer at the University of Witwatersrand, Dr Kholeka Shange, as they explore Prof Harris’ book, Ghosts of Archive, as well as Dr Shange’s work on photographic archiving of Princess Magogo. The discussion will be facilitated by Kneo Mokgopa and will interrogate issues of archival practice, ghosts and justice. 

Razia Saleh, Director of Archive and Research at Nelson Mandela Foundation, explains that this new digital archive is one of the ways that the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory is driving greater public access of the archives following its closure for almost two years due to the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. “Since the launch of ACoM earlier in the year, we are excited that the archival aspect of the Centre of Memory at the Nelson Mandela Foundation is coming alive and widening access” she said. On the day of the exhibition, guests will be invited to write and leave their personal notes of their experiences with the COVID pandemic and the state of the world. These will be stored next to Nelson Mandela’s archives and will be opened ten (10) years from now for reflective purposes.

Chief Executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Sello Hatang, said that access to archives remains important to the protection and preservation of the legacy of Nelson Mandela and the other Rivonia Trialists.  “Walter Sisulu was a lifelong friend, confidante, and mentor to Nelson Mandela. We invite the public to come and watch a 52-year-old Walter Sisulu when he was giving his original testimony at the Rivonia Trial”, he said. 

ACoM aims to generate an integrated and dynamic information resource on the life and times of Nelson Mandela through a multi-layered archive portal with content drawn from the physical archive, research and analysis. It also aims to activate and bring the archive alive through an exciting and compelling cultural programme with talks, exhibitions and gatherings that explore the archive.


Date: 13 April 2022
Time: 17h30 for 18h00
Venue: The Nelson Mandela Foundation
Location: 107 Central Street, Houghton Estate
Guest of Honour: Elinor Sisulu  



Media Enquiries:
Mandla Dakada
Coordinator: Communications & Digital Community
Nelson Mandela Foundation
+27 (0) 66 472 7355