A prominent site of historical importance, the Mapikela House was built by Thomas Mapikela, one of the founding fathers of the ANC. The house was constructed by Mapikela and completed during the 1920s.
The Mapikela House has been in the Mapikela family since its completion 88 years ago. The house is constructed with partially burnt brick and plastered on the inside. The floors are wooden as are the ceilings and a few of the remaining original windows and doors.
The structure is significant because it was built by Mapikela and it also functioned as a guesthouse for visitors from elsewhere. Black people were not allowed to accommodate visitors, and movement for black people between towns and cities was severely restricted. Mapikela, however, had official permission to operate a guesthouse and his double-storey residence accommodated his family as well as visitors, some being prominent members of political parties.
As far as the existing house is concerned, the areas damaged by a fire on the first floor a number of years ago were repaired and/or replaced and certain functional alterations were effected, e.g. at the bathroom and kitchen, in order to allow the family to utilize the house as a contemporary residence. The steel windows were replaced and the plastered façade on the east elevation replaced with a matching facebrick.
As the family will continue to live in the house, a small exhibition space where the outbuildings were situated was proposed. Artifacts and photographs were installed in this space and visitors have limited access to the actual residence. The site was fenced-off, and the site suitably drained to avoid storm water damage to the structure.
In principle with interventions in this historical structure, as much original material as possible was retained. Where existing material has been lost, it has been replaced with new material that matches with the existing.