Nelson Mandela Foundation

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Reading Room

The Nelson Mandela Foundation has a Reading Room where researchers can access valuable historical documents, as well as a research library.

The Reading Room is located at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory.  Our opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm.

Please make an appointment to ensure that you will be assisted.

Visiting the Centre of Memory

All visitors are required to fill in the Researcher Registration form before their visit.

Secure lockers are located behind reception. Coats, parcels, briefcases, computer bags, pens and other similar belongings must be locked in these. Keys have been provided for you to keep for the duration of your visit.

The following is NOT allowed in the Reading Room

  • All food, beverages and sweets
  • Smoking
  • Pens, markers, highlighters and post-it notes
  • Scanning, filming and copying with your own equipment

Rules and guidelines

  • No documents or books from the reference collection are to be removed from the Reading Room under any circumstance. They can only be consulted in the Reading Room.
  • Researchers are permitted to use only soft pencils or a personal computer.
  • Cameras must use the ambient light and the use of flashlight is not permitted.
  • Up to three boxes of materials can be requested at any time, but only one box at a time can be used by the researcher to ensure that materials are not misplaced.
  • Order must be maintained within each box and within each folder. If you have a problem returning items to the original order, of if you find something out of order, please consult a staff member. Please replace documents you are not using into folders and boxes as soon as possible, to avoid unnecessary exposure to light.
  • Remember that archival materials are physical objects which must be protected, as well as being sources of information. All documents must be handled with care. When required, cotton gloves will be provided and must be worn. Special care must be taken with fragile, rolled, or oversize material. Photographs must never be removed from their protective sleeves. If you are having a problem with an item, please consult a staff member immediately.
  • When possible, handle the enclosure rather than the documents themselves. (For example, remove a folder from a box rather than pulling out particular documents.)
  • Do not lean on documents or archive boxes since this causes stress on them and can result in irreparable damage.
  • Do not place your notepad or computer on top of one or more documents.
  • Do not annotate, mark, fold, tear, damage, or dirty the documents.
  • Any accident or damage to a document must be reported to the archive staff immediately.
  • Misconduct or not respecting the rules may result in a researcher being refused further access to the archives.


    • Archival materials made available to researchers by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, and hitherto unpublished, and protected by the Copyright Act (act 98 of 1978) and its regulations as amended, may only be consulted for bona fide research purposes. Furthermore, no extract, however small, may be quoted without acknowledgement of the source, nor may any materials be quoted whole or in greater part unless the prior permission of the copyright holder has been obtained.
    • The Copyright Act (Act 98 of 1978) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials. Under the provision of the Act, libraries and archives are authorised to supply photocopies or other reproductions. One of these provisions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be used for any purpose other than private study or personal or private use and not for commercial publication without the permission of the copyright holder.