Mandela: Struggle for Freedom is on the road! You can experience the exhibition at the Meridian Arts Centre in Toronto from October 10, 2019 to January 5, 2020.
What would you do if you were imprisoned for 27 years? Would you be able to forgive your captors, or would you want revenge? Nelson Mandela chose forgiveness – and he never stopped trying to build a better world.
Mandela: Struggle for Freedom looks at Nelson Mandela and the movement that formed around him. Follow Mandela into hiding after he is declared an outlaw, and then join him inside a replica of the prison cell that was his home for 18 years. Experience the bittersweet joy of his release, after 27 long years of imprisonment. Finally, witness South Africa’s first democratic elections, and find out about Mandela’s efforts to rebuild a nation shattered by racism and injustice.
Explore what was happening on the streets during Mandela’s lifetime. Bear witness to South African children defending themselves from tanks with garbage can lids, and learn about the secret plan to break Mandela out of prison. Support for Mandela and his cause also came from outside South Africa. Hear from Canadians who joined the struggle for freedom and equality and see for yourself the importance of mobilizing and speaking out.
I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.
Mandela fought against apartheid, a system of white supremacy in South Africa. Under apartheid, everyone was put into one of four racial categories: “white/European,” “black,” “coloured,” or “Indian/Asian.” Non-white South Africans were second-class citizens with little or no political power. Restrictive laws governed every aspect of people’s lives, dictating where they could live, work and travel and restricting their access to education, health care and other social services.
Mandela rose up against apartheid and called upon all South Africans to join him. Although he was arrested and imprisoned for 27 years for fighting for freedom, Mandela refused to give up the struggle or give in to hate. Mandela was fighting against apartheid, but he was also fighting for something: a better world, in which the freedom, justice and dignity of all were respected. Even before his release in 1990, Mandela began negotiating with the government to end apartheid. Through those negotiations, he helped prevented a bloody civil war. Mandela went on to become the country’s first democratically elected president.
One man, many voices
Mandela's courage is inspiring and his story is dramatic, but he did not end apartheid alone. In South Africa and around the world, people were inspired by Mandela's example. They recognized that there would never be freedom in South Africa unless many people took action. In South Africa, many died in the struggle for freedom. Here in Canada, numerous individuals mobilized against apartheid, calling for boycotts against South Africa’s apartheid regime.
We invited people to spend 27 minutes in a room roughly the same size as the cell in which Mandela spent most of his time in prison. Find out how it changed their view of Mandela’s struggle for freedom.
Video: 27 minutes for 27 years
Mandela: Struggle for Freedom is about one man, but it is also about the many who came together to oppose racism and injustice.
Mandela: Struggle for Freedom is featured in the Level 1 Gallery until August 25th, 2019.
Many anti-apartheid posters were screen-printed, a printmaking technique characterized by a grassroots aesthetic. Created in South Africa and around the world, the messages of these posters still resonate today as people continue the struggle for freedom. Design your own poster!
Apartheid era police tank at the Nelson Mandela exhibition, Canadian musuem of human rights, Winnipeg. We must tell the stories of past atrocities to a new generation to prevent them from happening again #Mandela100t.co/Ht3vG6NIvF