National English Literary Museum, Grahamstown

#8 of 16 in Things to do in Grahamstown
Specialty Museum · Hidden Gem · Museum
The Amazwi South African Museum of Literature, previously the National English Literary Museum (NELM), is a museum that houses archival material relating to South Africa's literary heritage. It is located in Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown) in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.

Amazwi's primary functions are to collect and conserve material evidence pertaining to South African literature, to publicise and popularise it, and to provide all sections of the reading public, both locally and abroad, with the means of access to it. The museum has three principal collections: manuscripts, books and journals, and press clippings. The museum also conducts many outreach programmes (mainly focused on school pupils and university students) aimed at promoting and creating awareness of South Africa's rich literary heritage.

The museum was known as the National English Literary Museum from its founding in 1972 to May 2019. The museum then formally changed its name to Amazwi South African Museum of Literature at the order of Minister of Culture Nathi Mthethwa, aligned to a new organisational vision of linguistic and cultural inclusivity, and a new mandate to promote and preserve important South African literary works produced not only in English, but across all indigenous languages.
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National English Literary Museum reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
11 reviews
  • NELM should be on your top 5 places to see in Grahamstown. It is modern but is full of history. Children will be intrigued by what is on offer inside and outside the building. It may stick out like.....  more »
  • A very modern building for Grahamstown, but very nicely constructed with inetresting detail and lovely trees that must still develop. Saw a number of shoes there between the theree of us - extremely.....  more »
  • A brilliant and illuminating exhibition of South African literary history. The comprehensive archive is managed by experienced librarians and gives researchers access to incredible resources.
  • Really interesting museum, was attending for a book launch. I plan to visit again and check out the exhibitions another time. Worth visiting.

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