The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum is home to an impressive collection, ranging from British and Oriental art to international printmaking and art from the local Eastern Cape. Even St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth, the entrance to which you’ll find the museum, is a piece of art created by Mother Nature herself.
The limited exhibition space means that there is a constant rotation of artworks from the museum’s large, permanent collection. So there’s always something new to see at the gallery.
The permanent collection is mainly retrospective. The museum, however, features art from across the historical spectrum at its temporary exhibitions. Highlights from the permanent collection include works by renowned artists such as Henry Moore, David Hockney, Marc Chagall, Honore Daumier and Rembrandt van Rijn. The Orient is represented by a selection of Indian miniatures, Japanese wood-block prints and Chinese items from the Qing dynasty.
This art gallery has also collected artworks by prominent South African artists for over 50 years. Some of the gallery's recent contemporary acquisitions include works by some of South Africa's top artists, like Berni Searle, Conrad Botes, Diane Victor and Nicholas Hlobo.
One of the most interesting parts of the museum’s collection is the art that comes from the local area, representing the spirit of the Eastern Cape. Learn about the artistic history of the city and the province through some famous local artists, including Walter Battiss and George Milwa Mnyaluza Pemba. The museum is also home to art projects like the award-winning Keiskamma Art Project, which is a rare treat.
The gallery has now been incorporated into the Arts Precinct of Nelson Mandela Bay, where you can stroll through many arts venues including Route 67, Athenauem, the Ron Belling Art Gallery and artEC.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Nelson Mandela Museum
Tel: +27 (0)33-3451404
Fax: +27 (0)33 3450561
How to get here
Nearby East London Airport is accessible from major South African airports. Mthatha is a three-hour drive from East London. The Nelson Mandela Museum is located on the N2 and is a natural stopover between major centres.
Tours to do
OPTION 1: HALF DAY
A visit to: Bhunga Building in Mthatha, Nelson Mandela Youth and Heritage Centre in Qunu and other sites of historical significance.
Qualified museum site tour guide available.
OPTION 2: FULL DAY
Visit to: Bhunga Building, Qunu, Mvezo and Mqhekezweni great place
Qualified tour guide available
OPTION 3: THREE DAYS
Visit to: Bhunga Building, Qunu, Mvezo and other local historical sites of significance associated with Nelson Mandela in Qunu, Mqhekezweni Great place, Clarkebury, Healdtown and to the University of Fort Hare.
OPTION 4: HIKES
Hiking around Qunu allows visitors to tour sites of historical significance such as the stone church where Nelson Mandela was baptised, the sliding rock where he used to play with other children, and includes Qunu village tours.
Visit to: Mthatha, Mvezo, Mqhekezweni, overnight in Qunu and Wild Coast
Hike from Coffee Bay to Hole in the wall.
Where to stay
The museum in Qunu boasts upmarket accommodation suitable for leisure and business travellers.
Local curios and traditional meals.