MANDELA – Exhibition: A Revolutionary Experience
Anti-Apartheid, Robben Island, ANC president, political leader, equality and justice, activists, are many titles and words that we can relate to when hearing the name Nelson Mandela.
Known as Madiba his clan name to his community in Mvezo a tiny village in South Africa.
I attended the Exhibition at 26 Leake Street in Waterloo with a friend.The exhibition showcased the journey of Mandela from childhood, family history, personal aspects, apartheid to president which was presented in a variety of formats.
Exhibition used symbols, stories, artefacts, prison cell, audio, visual footage, personal items. Making sure we did not miss a corner, taking sooo many pictures and some footage – we were educated, surprised and amused for at least 2 hours of reading, listening, watching, and discussing.The creators made the space come alive with real artefacts donated from South Africa via the grandson of Mandela – NKosi Zwelivelile, amongst other collaborators.
I can never imagine living in such a traumatic era in South Africa – amongst Apartheid laws, racism, discrimination, segregation, social injustice and The Sharpville Massacre 1960.
Co founder of ANCYL – Albertina Sisilu also fought for justice – often being arrested and banned – known as Mother of the Nation. She was married to Walter Sisilu – one of Mandela prison mates.
Walters cousin Everlyn Mase was Mandela’s first wife to which they had 4 children, but divorced in 1958 . Married Winnie Mandela in 1958 who was a black medical social worker, had 2 daughters. At the age of 80 he married his 3rd wife Graca Machel.
Struggle for Justice
As a fugitive, ambushed and arrested in 1962 sentenced to 5yrs for leaving without passport and incitement to strike. Thereafter imprisoned from 1964 – 1990, spending the first 18 of the years on Robben Island – prison number 466/66
I remember watching on TV the Free Nelson Mandela concert that took place at Wembley Stadium in 1990. From then I took further interest about his activism and Apartheid.
In 1993 Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and 1994 at age 77 become South Africa first black head of state under the ANC.
Quotes – quotes were displayed around the exhibition walls and embedded under glass flooring.
I purchased the Long Walk To Freedom – a very thick book indeed, that I’ve only read several chapters and had to reread the chapters over again. One day hope to finish.
Film – Mandela Long walk to freedom in 2013
Even to this day I remember when he was freed from prison in 1990, watching on TV with that power salute with Winnie, that bought back memories when watching the scene being acted out by Idris Elba.
It was more than what I expected and well worth the entrance fee £15 adult, £10 children. A portion of the proceedings will go towards the Mvezo Foundation Trust to support economic development programmes in Mandela’s birthplace. The exhibition is in London between March – June 2019 before moving to Paris.
Nelson Mandela transcended on 5th December 2013 age 95 – but his legacy lives on as a world known revolutionary iconic. I hope to visit South Africa one day.
bless Sister E