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February 12, 2010

Two new Mandela exhibitions open at Iziko Museums’ Slave Lodge in Cape Town

Cyril Ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa remembering February 11, 1990. Photo courtesy Iziko Museums/Carina Beyer

Two major exhibitions opened this week at the Iziko Museums’ Slave Lodge in the Cape Town city centre: Mandela: Character, comrade, leader, prisoner, negotiator, statesman; and Drawing on Madiba, by Zapiro. Twenty years ago yesterday, on February 11, 1990, Mandela was released after spending 27 years in prison.

The main exhibition details the life and times of Nelson Mandela, while Zapiro’s exhibition showcases the cartoonist’s impressions of the country’s most beloved leader.

The exhibitions were launched on Wednesday night, with keynote speaker Cyril Ramaphosa saying, “This evening allows us to cast our minds back to the evening before Madiba was to walk free. Though we understood that momentous changes were taking place in our country, we didn’t quite understand what the events that were unfolding would lead to. We had great expectations, but great uncertainty.”

Ramaphosa is now a prominent businessman who heads up Shanduka Holdings. In an interview at the opening, he said he was positive that South Africa would be a much better place 20 years from now. “I hope we’ll have dealt a huge blow to poverty, and that unemployment will have been reduced radically. Our country should be growing by seven, eight or 9%. … I hope our country will be in a much better state.”

On the issue of reconciliation in South Africa, Ramaphosa said, “It’s a work in progress, but Mandela has led us along the reconciliation path. He has planted the seed and it has germinated.”

Mandela’s friend and fellow Robben Island inmate, Ahmed Kathrada, also spoke at the opening. He related personal anecdotes that reflected Madiba’s tenacity, kindness, and, in the gentle manner of a close friend, his personal vanity.

For a more in-depth article about the opening, see Cape Town exhibitions open on eve of anniversary of Madiba’s release from prison.

The Iziko Museums’ Slave Lodge is open Monday to Saturday from 10h00 to 17h00. The entrance fee is R15. The Mandela exhibitions will run for about two years.


Cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro. Photo courtesy Iziko Museums/Carina Beyer

Achmat Dangor Ahmed Kathrada Cyril Ramaphosa

Achmat Dangor, Ahmed Kathrada and Cyril Ramaphosa. Photo courtesy Iziko Museums/Carina Beyer

Mandela exhibition

Christopher Till, Cyril Ramaphosa and Bantu Holomisa at the opening of the Mandela exhibitions. Photo courtesy Iziko Museums/Carina Beyer

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