Mandela used the centre to provide intensive military training for his forces and holding ‘highly secretive’ meetings when he went underground in 1961. Mandela used the centre for about three months.
“Even when he relaxed, he would do so only with the generals. Everything was restricted as he did not even have interaction with other military officials. Very special care was provided to Nelson Mandela when he received training here,” said the centre’s commander, Alemu Gabreyes
“As you know there is a lot of secret information that the Ethiopian government and freedom fighters shared during those years. Making the site a museum or tourist attraction will enhance the relationship between the two countries,” said Ethiopia’s communications officer Daniel Mikre, adding that it was not too late to honour Mandela.
The museum which will be called Mandela’s name will take one through the places that Mandela held discussions, where he exercised and a view of his bedroom which has been converted into an office.
“You have come to a place where the great freedom fighter Nelson Mandela got his training. You might have read about it in the history books, but these are the stories that we should not forget. These are the stories that we need to share.” Said Ethiopia’s Communications Minister Negere Lencho
The centre which is the modern day police training holds Mandela’s legacy, a fact that the government would like to preserve. Challenges in getting funding are holding back the project from proceeding.
“From our side we are ready to share the costs and we are expecting the South African government to play a part during this process.” Said Ethiopia’s ambassador to South Africa, Mulugeta Kelil