Education and Public Programmes


The National English Literary Museum (NELM) is a declared cultural institution in terms of the Cultural Institutions Act and is funded by the national Department of Arts and Culture.
NELM’s mission is to promote social cohesion and national identity by sharing its diverse collections through exemplary research, exhibitions and public programmes. Our aim is to support the teaching and learning of a range of subjects by presenting relevant educational programmes that promote the discovery, understanding and enjoyment of South African literary and cultural heritage. The richness and diversity of South African literature is an ideal medium for building a national identity and social cohesion. The challenge is to make more people, especially children, aware of this national asset and to encourage reading for pleasure and writing as a means of creative expression.
Nelm aims to play its part through its education and public progammes. In–house educational programmes, as well as mobile services are offered in order to enrich the diverse South African communities from various backgrounds. These programmes enable learners, teachers and members of the community to meaningfully engage in issues affecting their daily lives, developments and their
well-beings in order to better their livelihood.

Nelm mainly utilises its collection to achieve its goals. The huge collection of books include children’s’ stories, journals, press clipping and the massive database enable Nelm to deepen the nation’s understanding of literary heritage.




This NELM education booklet describes a number of tried and tested educational programmes that are aiming to support and enhance teaching and learning. Moreover, our education team is eager to develop additional programmes to suit the needs of individual schools. As a national institution, NELM strives to present programmes at schools throughout the Eastern Cape and countrywide.


NELM is also able to receive groups of up to 50 learners per session at its new education Activity Room facility at 25A Worcester Street, Grahamstown. There is also an up to 50-sitter storytelling open area for kids.


NELM is also offering a number of literary excursions where stories related to the wild, tourism, history, arts and culture are narrated. These camps take a day or two. The numerous camps are aimed at ensuring that learners spend some of their weekends, public holidays and school holidays in a fun, but edutainment environment. The camps incorporate heritage studies, especially literary heritage, as well as life skills. The camps are suitable for all school grades, from grade R – 12.

• The Blaaukrantz in History and Legend @ At The Blaaukrantz Bridge

• Discovery Camp: Nongqawuse and Dias Cross

• Thomas Pringle Camp @ Assegaai Trails, Salem

• Environment and Literature Camp @ Thomas Baines Nature Reserve

• Spirit of Trees @ Assegaai Trails, Salem.

• Grahamstown and the Anglo-Boer War @ Grahamstown Golf Club

• Schreiner in Cradock @ Schreiner House, Cradock and Environs Of Cradock

• Hogsback Camp @ Hobbiton

Public Programmes


A number of national public holidays such as Human Rights Day, Freedom Day and Heritage Day and other commemorative international days such as the World Book Day, World Press Freedom Day and International Museum Day are also used to enable South Africans to reflect and imagine where we come from, where we are now and where we want to be in the future as a rainbow nation. The public programmes are a life-long non-formal and informal learning curve.

In the past, as part of social cohesion, Nelm has hosted the following:

• Africa Month Colloquium and Africa Day

• Heritage Festival and Heritage Carnival

• Book launches

• Youth Programme within the Schreiner Karoo                          Writers Festival

• World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

• National Public Service Day

• National Book Week and International  Literacy    Day



To ensure success in some of these events, Nelm has partnered with a number of other stakeholders holders:

  • Sarah Baartman Film Festival (together with the DSRAC Sarah Baartman District and others)
  • Puku Storytelling Festival (together with Puku Foundation and others)
  • Schools Literature Festival (together with the DoBE Sarah Baartman District)
  • Language and literature Summit (together with DSRAC Language Services at head office)
  • World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (together with Social Development)

Guided Tours

Nelm and its satellites offer a number of guided tours. Booking is essential. Below are some of the guided tours:

• General tour of the building

• Tours of the permanent exhibition, Voices of the             Land

• Tour of the temporary exhibition, Voices of Protest

• Tour of the travelling exhibition, Dear Mr Mandela,      Dear Mrs Parks . . .

• Literary tour of Grahamstown

• Literary Walking Tour of Lingelihle

• Literary Walking Tour of Old Cradock

• Tour of the Eastern Star Printing Press Museum

• Tour of the Ikhamanga Hall exhibition

• Tour of the Grahamstown Then and                                        Now Photographs exhibition