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 is an exhibition that 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.
What was Mandela's struggle about?
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 prevent 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.
Mandela is an exhibition is about one man, but it is also about the many who came together to oppose racism and injustice. The themes include an exploration of Apartheid, defiance, repression, mobilization and freedom.
Continue the exploration with two additional features from TO Live:
THE KINGDOM CHOIR
George Weston Recital Hall, Meridian Arts Centre
November 5 & 6, 2019
“Spine-tingling” – The Guardian
London’s The Kingdom Choir are best known for their show-stopping performance at the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The groups performance of Stand By Me, seen by a global audience of over two billion, instantly catapulted the choir to worldwide fame.
ISANGO ENSEMBLE: A MAN OF GOOD HOPE
Bluma Appel Theatre, St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts
November 13-18, 2019
“Packs a punch… tugging on the heartstrings” – London Standard
“Everyone should see—and hear—the Isango Ensemble at least once in their lives.” – The Guardian
Award-winning South African theatre company Isango Ensemble brings this feast of music and dance. There always runs a thread of fervent political comment—and A Man of Good Hope is no different.
Please note as of September 15, 2019, the Toronto Centre for the Arts will become MERIDIAN ARTS CENTRE
|Mandela: Struggle for Freedom was developed by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (Winnipeg, Canada) in partnership with the Apartheid Museum (Johannesburg, South Africa). Tour management services provided by Lord Cultural Resources.|
|The original presentation of Mandela: Struggle for Freedom at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights was generously supported by The Asper Foundation, TD Bank Group, Travel Manitoba, and Air Canada.|
|These events have been financially assisted by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund a program of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, administered by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund Corporation.|