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Thabo Mbeki Presidential Library to be built in the City of Joburg

THE CITY of Johannesburg is marking Tourism and Heritage Month by signing a momentous collaborative agreement with the Thabo Mbeki Foundation.

Thabo Mbeki Presidential Library to be built in the City of Joburg

The three year collaboration supports the development of the Thabo Mbeki Presidential Library Heritage Precinct in Riviera, with the Presidential Library as the anchor project of the precinct.

“This is an important milestone to not only invest in and celebrate our heritage, but presents a golden opportunity in our ongoing efforts to continuously promote Johannesburg as a key destination to both locals and visitors,” says the Speaker of the City of Johannesburg, Cllr Nonceba Molwele.

“As a strategic tourism and heritage intervention, the collaboration entered into today, will be integral to key mechanisms and interventions around job creation, SMME opportunities, knowledge advancement, heritage preservation and experience as well as betterment of the livelihoods.”

Evidently, it will be a game changer and a first mover of its kind in diversifying the heritage offering in Johannesburg, in any event heritage is one of the City’s newly identified niche development areas in the its first independent tourism strategy approved on 14 April 2021 that caters for both tourism demand and supply with clear implementable recommendations in unlocking tourism economic potential,” Molwele added.

The Thabo Mbeki Presidential Centre (TMPC) is intended to be a living library

and museum which will narrate the story of Africa through and beyond former President Thabo Mbeki and other African leaders’ work and impact within the larger context of African liberation and development. Its aim is to educate, inculcate, inspire and activate citizens from all walks of African life to be dynamic agents of its Renaissance.

Designed by renowned Ghanaian-British architect Sir David Adjaye OBE, the Centre will comprise an Archive, Library and Gardens, Commercial Mixed-Use Space and the Mbeki House as a Living Museum. 

A central mission of the TMPC is to use the Archives of historical and contemporary leaders to provide a forum for Africans to better understand and treasure the past, enrich the present and meet the challenges of the future.  The collection will be comprised of thousands of items from the Mbeki Family, Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere and many other historical and contemporary leaders related to our mission of renewing Africa.

The TMPC will not present a “fixed singular narrative” of Africa’s emancipation and progress. Instead, the core exhibitions will be designed so that the elements can be revised or reconfigured easily, and visitors can explore a wide range of evolving topics and themes over time. It will reflect our research into the needs, desires, and interests of Africans, while also drawing upon the expertise of academics and practitioners.

The TMPC is built on the following foundational programmes that enable discovery, learning and innovation:

•Leadership

• Women and Gender

•Education

•Culture

•Business

•Arts and Media

Each of these expand into multi sub disciplinary areas that foster research, civic

engagement, and discourse, think tanks and innovation.

“This is an ambitious, but necessary journey and it is only with the City’s support that we can achieve the establishment of the Thabo Mbeki Presidential Library”, says Max Boqwana, CEO of the Thabo Mbeki Foundation. 

“In the words of our patron, former President Mbeki, my vision for the new presidential library aims to encompass both an African past and an African future.  It will be place where Africans uncover their own history and identity.  A place where we are empowered to script a brighter and more prosperous future.  Through this wonderful collaboration with Sir David Adjaye and his team, I believe this building will become the epicentre for an African renaissance – a place of pride, celebration and future-forward thinking in which a strong sense of the African identity is empowered for further leadership in service to humanity.”

“There is a serious obligation imposed on us to develop this place that will hold all our past experiences, our dreams and plans and our hopes for the future,” continues Boqwana. “This work which will be the first of its kind in Africa needs to be thought, planned and built by Africans themselves. This World Class Project is a place of pride for Africans, “to knit together fragments of Africa’s past”. 

The location for this project has carefully been chosen as Johannesburg, a World Class African City.  This immediately brings synergy to the project.”

The first Call to Action to stakeholders to realize this vision is the Buy A Brick Campaign – a call to action to Africans, especially young people across all races and class to contribute towards building The Thabo Mbeki Presidential Library. Whoever we may be, whatever our immediate interest, however much we carry baggage from our past, however much we have been caught by the fashion of cynicism and loss of faith in the capacity of the people, let us err today and say – nothing can stop us now! [Patron: Thabo Mbeki]   

•        The Buy a Brick Campaign includes options, packages and donor levels – catering to all, from individuals to corporates. There are various ways corporates can leverage and maximize the opportunity that comes with partnering with the Thabo Mbeki Foundation. As a registered NPO, a section 18 certificate is also available. Please refer to our Donor Levels.          

The Buy A Brick campaign demonstrates that indeed, all Africans play a pivotal role in building this continent.  Bricks symbolize the building blocks needed to build Africa’s renaissance, an apt depiction of what the Thabo Mbeki Presidential Library aims to achieve.

The Speaker of the City of Johannesburg further endorses Buy A Brick campaign as it provides citizens with sense of ownership and pride to the Presidential Library as their valuable and resourceful asset.     

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