Joe McClain - Jan 27, 2009

For over seven years, the visitors to Johannesburg, South Africa, have had the unrivalled opportunity to learn about the darkest aspects of the history of South Africa. The Apartheid Museum represents a very appealing project which commemorates the past century and is a very raw presentation of the reality of Apartheid. A new exhibition has been recently launched here, which celebrates one of the greatest personalities of the country’s history – Nelson Mandela. It was a very welcome gift to his 90th birthday as well.

The exhibition is a result of an extensive research of a team of curators, film-makers, historians and designers, who spent about a year looking for photographs, videos, documentaries, artefacts, interviews, articles – anything which would help faithfully present Mandela and his public as well as private self. And their work has been praised by many. The exhibition is very powerful, especially the parts which show his pictures right after Mandela’s release from prison. He was a much respected man with some powerful as well as famous friends – Hollywood stars along with famous politicians and personalities are not a rarity in the exhibition. A highlight is his personal red Mercedes Benz, a gift for Mandela after he left prison.

The exhibition is called “Mandela – leader, comrade, negotiator, prisoner, statesman” and the opening ceremony was spectacular. The U.S. president elect Barrack Obama himself recorded a moving speech which was shown on the site.

The exhibition will be shown at the Apartheid Museum until November 2009. After this date, it is to become a much expected travelling exhibition; the first stop is Spain and the rest of the world is keen to follow.

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