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Historic venues are often set in spectacular surroundings, creating a superb backdrop for your event. They make an interesting choice, particularly if you can combine a tour or presentation on the history of the venue at some point during your conference. Additionally, gala dinners hosted in grand rooms with a plethora of original features are sure to impress and inspire your delegates.

In 1963, police raided Liliesleaf Farm in Rivonia on the outskirts of Johannesburg and arrested six of the 10 Rivonia trialists for planning to overthrow the apartheid government.

The property had been purchased two years prior as a secure location where covert discussions and underground activities could take place. These arrests subsequently led to the trial that shook the nation, where Nelson Mandela (who had been arrested earlier), Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Andrew Mlangeni, Raymond Mhlaba, Ahmed Kathrada, Elias Motsoaledi and Denis Goldberg were sentenced to life in prison.

Liliesleaf farm today

Today, Rivonia is now fully swept up in the city’s suburban sprawl, but the farm reopened in 2008 as a museum that gives insight on what life was like in the underground liberation movement at the time. Liliesleaf extends the tradition of meetings and conferences by availing its facilities for corporate and conference use.

Tucked away in the suburbs underneath a canopy of old trees, Liliesleaf provides a peaceful environment for professionals. Whether a client requires a secluded venue for a corporate meeting, a conference location easily accessible from the City’s major highways and corporate hubs, or a unique setting for a special event or cocktail evening, Liliesleaf is an ideal venue with the facilities and history to match.

“Encapsulated within the landscape of Liliesleaf is a narrative of enduring value. The historic buildings and structures and the surviving trees and vegetation, combined with the stories that have been told and uncovered during the research, collectively project an iconic meaning that holds relevance today. Liliesleaf is our link to the past, our connection to the present and our bridge to the future,” says Sonia Botha, marketing assistant at the farm.

Liliesleaf offers diverse catering options, with clients able to choose from a number of menu options to fit their needs.

“It is more than just a national heritage site; it is also a site of memory that keeps a seminal period in South Africa’s liberation struggle history alive and real. It commemorates a strategic and seminal point in South Africa’s liberation struggle history and is a beacon on the global landscape of human memory. The many fascinating stories and events that helped shape South Africa’s new democratic nation are brought to life through dynamic and interactive exhibits that takes the visitor on an inspiring journey of discovery and enlightenment,” she continues.

Meetings recommends

We at Meetings love venues with meaning and history. Some other venues to consider if you’re looking for a venue with the Midas touch…

  1. Constitution Hill

Constitution Hill is a unique multipurpose development in the inner city of Johannesburg, a National and International Heritage Site and the home of the Constitutional Court – the protector of our basic rights and freedoms.

  • The Rand Club

The Rand Club encapsulates the feeling of a bygone era, and now plays host to high-end, memorable events set in Johannesburg’s most exquisite club. Situated in central Johannesburg, Rand Club offers a unique city experience.

  • Cape Dutch Flair

Set at the foot of the majestic Zonderend Mountains, on the banks of the Sonderend River, you will discover the exclusive and historic Oaks Estate, owned and managed by the Ehlers family who farm the land with beef cattle, fruit and grapevines.

  • Matjiesfontein

Hire out the entire town to take a step back in time. This tiny village, on the fringe of the Great Karoo, was founded in 1884 by legendary railway man James Douglas Logan. Immerse yourself in living history; life here is a tribute to the early Karoo, the Anglo-Boer War and Queen Victoria’s England.