Modern advances in genomics provide an opportunity to reinterpret historical bacterial culture collections. In this study, genotypic antibiotic resistance profiles of Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates from a historical 20-year-old multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) culture collection in South Africa are described. DNA samples extracted from the phenotypically MDR-TB isolates (n = 240) were assayed by Hain line probe assay (LPA) for the confirmation of MDR-TB and by Illumina Miseq whole-genome sequencing (WGS) for the characterization of mutations in eight genes (rpoB, katG, inhA, rpsL, pncA, embB, gyrA, and rrs) that are known to code for resistance to commonly used anti-TB agents. LPA identified 71.3% of the TB isolates as MDR-TB, 18.3% as rifampin (RIF) monoresistant, 2% as isoniazid (INH) monoresistant, and 8.3% as susceptible to both RIF and INH (RIF+INH). In a subset of 42 randomly selected isolates designated as RIF+INH resistant by Löwenstein-Jensen (LJ) culture in 1993, LPA and WGS results confirmed MDR-TB. In all five INH-monoresistant isolates by LPA and in all but one (the wild type) of the 34 successfully sequenced RIF-monoresistant isolates, WGS revealed matching mutations. Only 26% of isolates designated as susceptible by LPA, however, were found to be wild type by WGS. Novel mutations were found in the rpoB (Thr480Ala, Gln253Arg, Val249Met, Val251Tyr, Val251Phe), katG (Trp477STOP, Gln88STOP, Trp198STOP, Trp412STOP), embB (Thr11Xaa, Gln59Pro), and pncA (Thr100Ile, Thr159Ala, Ala134Arg, Val163Ala, Thr153Ile, DelGpos7, Phe106Ser) genes. Three MDR-TB isolates showed mutations in both the gyrA and rrs genes, suggesting that extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis existed in South Africa well before its formal recognition in 2006.