Liliesleaf is home to various exhibitions, largely covering the period from 1956, when the Freedom Charter was signed, to 1994, when South Africa became a free and democratic society.
The Liberation Centre where the ticket office is situated, houses one of the few remaining signed copies of the Freedom Charter, and biographies of the Rivonia Accused. Visitors are invited into the auditorium to watch a short film that tells the story of the events that led up to the raid on Liliesleaf, and puts Liliesleaf into historical context.
The Liberation Centre also houses the People’s Map, a network of people with some connection to Liliesleaf, and various exhibits relating to the purchase of Liliesleaf and the police raid on Liliesleaf.
The Main House on the property has a number of innovative exhibits relating to the 1963 Raid on Liliesleaf. There is also an exhibition on Chief Albert Luthuli, ANC president at the time of the raid. Three exhibitions in the house – Sweden, Norway and the German Democratic Republic – focus on International Solidarity with our liberation struggle.
One of the oldest original buildings at Liliesleaf, the Thatched Cottage, is where the leadership of the liberation movement held their meetings, and where they were arrested on 11 July 1963.
In Rooms 2-5 visitors can ponder the question: Who informed the police about Liliesleaf? and learn about the Great Escape: the daring escape of four activists from police cells in 1963.
Rooms 6-9 offer insights into the Rivonia Trial, December 1963 to June 1964, and the brilliant legal minds of the defence team, with a special focus on Afrikaner radical Bram Fischer, who himself would go on trial a few years later.
Additional exhibitions are housed in Rooms 10-13. Nelson Mandela’s Room is where South Africa’s first democratic president stayed and worked while in hiding from the police, disguised as a farm labourer and using the name David Motsamayi. Next door is an exhibition on the role of the European Union in the struggle against apartheid.
Umkhonto we Sizwe is an exhibition space presenting a brief overview of the ANC’s armed wing, flanked by two lesser known stories of leaflet bombs and weapons that were smuggled into South Africa for the ANC: the London Recruits, and Africa Hinterland Safari.
The MK Memorial is dedicated to the many men and women who sacrificed so much for Umkhonto we Sizwe in the pursuit of a free and democratic South Africa.