Major Global Museum Exhibition Tour debuts in London featuring many previously unseen artefacts in the centenary of Mandela’s birth.
Lawyer. Revolutionary. Political prisoner. World leader. Elder statesman. Symbol of the struggle against oppression. Nelson Mandela has been all these things to so many people across the world in the past 50 years. Five years after his passing, he continues to remain a human rights icon and to be seen globally as an advocate for change.
Now a major new exhibition, Nelson Mandela: The Official Exhibition, celebrating his life and legacy makes its World Premiere at 26 Leake Street from February 8th 2019.
Nelson Mandela: The Official Exhibition
Nelson Mandela: The Official Exhibition is designed to educate, entertain
and inspire using many personal belongings and objects never previously seen
outside of South Africa. These items, including the suit worn for the opening
of the South African parliament in 1996; a traditional head dress gifted to him
by The King of Xhosa people, King Xolilzwe Sigcawu as he awarded Mandela the
ancient tribal warrior honour of the Isithwalandwe Sesizwe, for the ﬁrst time
in two centuries; his presidential desk and chair and his much loved iconic
beige trench coat, combine with immersive media presentations and scenic
re-creations, to enable visitors to actively engage with and experience key
moments in Nelson Mandela’s life.
Nelson Mandela: The Official Exhibition takes visitors on Mandela’s life journey
Nelson Mandela: The Official Exhibition reveals his epic story in a series
of experiential zones. It takes visitors on Mandela’s life journey, from his
little-known beginnings in rural Mvezo, Transkei, through decades of turbulent
struggle against the apartheid regime, to his eventual vindication and final
years as South Africa’s first black president, ‘Father of South Africa’, and a
globally loved and respected figure.
Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela says:
Royal House of Mandela is delighted to endorse this exhibition honouring the
life and legacy of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela as it truly captures the spirit of
our global icon whose name has become synonymous with international solidarity,
justice and peace. It succeeds in quintessentially depicting the man and the
legend whose struggle and sacrifice has captivated the hearts and minds of
millions around the world. This exhibition is truly an inspiration and
an inspired effort; I believe that everyone who sees it will agree that
the legacy lives on and that the dream will never die.
London and the United Kingdom more broadly was home to many South African
exiles and activists in the anti-apartheid struggle. In the 1980s and ‘90s
Trafalgar Square and South Africa House was the scene of many a picket and
protest action and this news found its way to Mandela in his cell, either in
encoded messages, by word of mouth and in the latter years, via news clippings.
It was therefore no surprise that Madiba chose London as one of the first
cities outside Africa to visit as a free man after his 27-year incarceration. I
can say without the slightest doubt that Madiba would have given his stamp of
approval to staging this exhibition in London.”
Lizzy Moriarty, Exhibition
Advisor to Nelson Mandela: The Official Exhibition
“Many of the objects in the exhibition come from his house and have never
been catalogued or curated before. They
accompanied him through his life and through them, we can speak of his
extraordinary life and his contribution to reconciliation. It will be like wandering through his life
with him guiding you and asking you what you would have done in the same
What makes this exhibition so unique?
Nelson Mandela’s story has been told many times before, not
least of all by the man himself in his own words. So, what makes Nelson
Mandela: The Official Exhibition different? The exhibition features
unique insights from across the spectrum – from close family, friends and
others who admired him from afar. Personal artefacts and other material also
reveal the deeper stories behind the headlines and bring us closer to the man
behind the myth.
Steven Swaby, Narrative
“This unique exhibition goes beyond
the well-known ‘Mandela myth’ and reveals the inner stories of a remarkable
life lived with remarkable courage, conviction and compassion. It asks us to
consider the meaning of Mandela in the here-and-now and explores the
complexities of his legacy in a world where inequality and injustice are still
a daily fact of life.”
Nelson Mandela: The Official Exhibition honours the 100th year of his birth and to the 5th year of his passing
Mounted in collaboration with the Royal House of Mandela and the Mvezo Development Trust, Nelson Mandela: The Official Exhibition is presented in celebration of the 100th year of his birth and to honour the 5th year of his passing. Further global dates are to be announced as part of a world-wide tour before the exhibition is permanently mounted in Mvezo, Mandela’s birthplace.
The exhibition appreciates the support and involvement of several South
African Heritage Partners including institutions and individuals who are
contributing to the exhibition content. These Heritage Partners include: The Robben Island Museum, The Liliesleaf
Heritage Site, Mqhekezweni – The Great Place, Christo Brand and Zelda la Grange
Friday February 8th – Sunday 2nd June 2019
Street | South Bank | London | SE1 7NN (nearest Tube Waterloo)