National Heritage Site declaration: December, 02 2016
Liliesleaf Farm represents two pivotal points in South Africa’s History and the Liberation Struggle. The purchase of the property by the South African Communist Party (SACP) was to serve as both the organisation’s headquarters and a “safe house” for activists. This purchase coincided with the shift within the national liberation movement, from passive resistance to armed struggle and the formation of uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK). Liliesleaf subsequently became the headquarters of MK and a crucible for the Liberation Struggle. It was at this property where MK launched operation O Mayibuye leading to the reaction by the Apartheid regime in the form of the Rivonia Arrests (in July 1963) and the Rivonia Trial (which in turn is an important moment in our history). The trial resulted in the conviction and life imprisonment of prominent struggle leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Ahmed Kathrada, Denis Goldberg, Raymond Mhlaba, Elias Motsoeledi and Andrew Mlangeni.