A Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 519 CDI Panel Van has been converted into a mobile museum for the Nelson Mandela Museum, based in Mthatha, Eastern Cape. The vehicle has been ready to be used by the institution from 18 July, widely recognised the world over as Nelson Mandela Day, in celebration of the icon’s birthday.
Mandela Day is a global call for individuals and responsible corporate citizens - such as Mercedes-Benz Vans South Africa - to follow in the footsteps of Rolihlahla. Madiba devoted his life to serving his fellow humans and always considered the needs of others before his.
It was this same spirit that led to the establishment of the Nelson Mandela Museum in Mthatha, an institution that is part of a portfolio of legacy projects that seek to transform the heritage landscape, especially in Mandela’s hometown.
Following in the formidable footsteps of Nelson Mandela
Mercedes-Benz South Africa has long been associated with South Africa’s first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela. It was a specially built red Mercedes-Benz S-Class that Madiba was driven in, after he was released from prison, in 1990.
More than two decades later, Mercedes-Benz Vans South Africa is continuing to honour his greatest legacy: lending a hand to the underprivileged people of South Africa.
“As Mercedes-Benz Vans South Africa, we are delighted to continue the legacy of Nelson Mandela, in his birthday month. What better way to do this than by assisting underprivileged communities of the Eastern Cape and surrounding areas to gain access to the exemplary icon that was Tata Madiba,” said Nadia Trimmel, Vice-President of Mercedes-Benz Vans South Africa.
The 5.5-ton Extra-Long Sprinter is earmarked to assist the Nelson Mandela Museum in fulfilling a vision for Madiba’s legacy to be a living and mobile museum that embraces development and inspires people through education, culture and tourism.
“#ThatSprinterSpirit describes just how adaptable and customisable the entire Sprinter range is, ensuring it can be 100% anything and everything, to everyone. As a complete transport and mobility solution, the Sprinter is known for being flexible, robust and economical. Increased safety levels and innovative features ensure that the Sprinter backs its claim of 100% For You. This perfectly meets the needs of sectors such as taxi, tourism, service, logistics and other speciality conversions such as mobile homes and – in the case of the Nelson Mandela Museum – a mobile museum,” noted Trimmel.
One of the barriers for the museum carrying out its mission has been accessibility. A large part of the region has not been exposed to the museum for various reasons, and this necessitated a mobile solution.
“The Sprinter will improve the reach of the museum’s educational programmes and increase accessibility to various communities, especially those in far-flung areas of the Eastern Cape. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter will be used to narrate the legacy of Mandela to those who need to be inspired most,” said Bonke Tyhulu, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Museum.
The devastating impact of Covid-19 has also further highlighted the need for the Nelson Mandela Museum to initiate mobile educational programmes, allowing the institution to promote the ideals of non-racialism, non-sexism, peace, unity, human rights and democracy, which the nation’s father championed wholeheartedly.
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter: 100% For You
The range of Mercedes-Benz Sprinters - made up of the Panel Van, Tourer, Freight Carrier and Inkanyezi - are versatile vehicles with the ability to meet their varied customers’ needs. The selection of vehicle variants and impressive options result in the Sprinter being one of the most customisable commercial vehicles on the market, perfect for a mobile museum.
With more than 20 years of experience and innovation, it was a natural fit for the Nelson Mandela Mobile Museum to be based on the Sprinter. For this particular application, a rear-wheel drive Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 519 CDI Panel Van was selected due to its outstanding benefits. These include a loading compartment of up to 15.5 m3, a maximum gross vehicle mass of 5 500kg and a high roof.
The Sprinter is available locally in a number of variants - depending on equipment options, cargo space, roof heights, payload and body length - truly making it more customisable than one could imagine.