Visit our current exhibition, To Whistle Back, which runs from the 2nd of February to the 22nd of April 2023.

Gallery opening hours: Tuesday to Thursday, 09h00 – 17h00 / Friday, 09h00 – 16h00 / Saturday, 10h00 – 16h00.

Jannie's Reading Room

This space is home to Jannie Mouton’s unique book collection which is now made accessible to the public.

Art Gallery

This trendy exhibition space showcases a variety of historic South African art works together with contemporary works.


TO WHISTLE BACK: A Group Exhibition in Collaboration with 40 Stones

An Exhibition for Lent and Easter

2nd of February – 22 April 2023


In 1963, from within his prison cell during solitary confinement, Albie Sachs whistled the main theme from Dvořák’s New World Symphony as a form of creative protest. From the confines of prison another detainee whistled back. This hopeful tune became a means of both gentle defiance and of solidarity.

Thirty years later the Truth and Reconciliation Commission sought to strengthen an infant democracy through restorative justice. Since 1995, the term ‘reconciliation’ has borne different meanings to South Africans. Its complex embodiment ranges from the intimacy of everyday relationships to the formality of national legislation. Yet, it might be best described as a project aimed at solidarity. ‘Reconciliation’ is the theme that binds this exhibition together because of its importance in the story of South Africa and how it echoes into our future.

One voice that reverberates in South African dialogues on justice and reconciliation, is that of the church. The prophetic voices of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Beyers Naude, Steve Biko, Albert Luthuli, and Jaap Du Rand come to mind. Another distinct mediator (or whistle-blower) in this conversation is the Arts. As aptly stated in his essay ‘Holy
Beauty’, theologian and anti-apartheid activist John W. De Gruchy writes:

[A]rt has the potential to change both our personal and corporate consciousness and perception, challenging perceived reality and enabling us to remember what was best in the past even as it evokes fresh images that serve transformation in the present. This it does through its ability to evoke imagination and wonder, causing us to pause and reflect and thereby opening up the possibility of changing our perception and ultimately our lives. (14)

This exhibition showcases works of South African artists, past and present, which grapple with the difficult theme of reconciliation in South Africa. Some works are solemn and call for reflection. Others intend to challenge perceptions. Overall, this selection of imaginative artworks serves to remind of the hope which Christians find in the Easter narrative, where Christ paid the ultimate price to reconcile man to God: the hope for a new world.

De Eetkamer Restaurant

Chef Marco Cardoso’s modern menu offers a selection of delicious small plates.
Book at

Writer's Room

This stimulating space offers writers a private space of inspiration to write.

About Oude Leeskamer

The Oude Leeskamer is a cultural and heritage centre situated in a historic building on the corner of Dorp and Drostdy Street in Stellenbosch. This space has served various purposes in the Stellenbosch community over the years.

Since its founding in 1815, the building has been a magistrate’s office, an annex to the Moederkerk and annex to the Theological Seminary. It has also served as a home to various local book clubs and the then Union Debating Society. More recently it has been a private residency, a guesthouse and home to an architectural firm.
Significantly, it was in this very building that the idea of schools for the town originated, which eventually led to the founding of Stellenbosch University.

In 2017 the Oude Leeskamer became the property of the Jannie Mouton Foundation. The building was remarkably restored to now host five unique spaces, namely Jannie se Leeskamer, an art gallery, a writer’s flat, De Eetkamer Restaurant, and the Jannie Mouton Foundation offices.

The Oude Leeskamer’s vision is to be a leading heritage asset with the aim of protecting historical worth. At the same time, it aims to be a living space that celebrates South Africa’s unique and diverse arts and culture.


Tuesday to Thursday, 09h00 – 17h00
Friday, 09h00 – 16h00
Saturday, 10h00 – 16h00


Tel: (021) 001-8829
Address: 182 Dorp Street,
Stellenbosch, 7600

Follow Our Journey