First Look at…Mandela: The Official exhibition

The official exhibition will open in London on the 8th February. 

A Ceremonial
leopard skin headdress
awarded to Nelson Mandela by
King Xolilzwe Sigcawu of the Xhosa people.
It was the first time in 200 years this
ancient warrior honour
had been bestowed on anyone other than a king.

This major new global touring exhibition will take visitors on a journey through the life of the world’s most iconic freedom fighter and political leader.

On display from the 8th February, the exhibition is a celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy, making its world premiere at 26 Leake Street Gallery in Waterloo.

One of the famous hand printed batik ‘
Madiba shirts’ worn by Nelson Mandela.
They became a key part of his colourful public persona and always helped him stand out
against the more formal dress of surrounding politicians and business people.

Visitors will be taken through a series of immersive zones, each one capturing an important part of Mandela’s life and contains previously unseen film and photos as well as the display of over 150 historical artefacts and personal effects on loan from the Mandela family, museums and archives worldwide.

The sections of the exhibition are as follows:

  • The Early Years features a replica of a traditional rondavel set among the rolling hills of the Transkei. This section examines both the traditional Thembu culture and the life of a rural farm boy via a variety of traditional artefacts.
  • The Struggle is My Life uses participatory media to enable visitors to feel the hardships of apartheid exploring themes that include the degradation of segregation, the pass burning movement of the Defiance campaign and the harshness of police brutality.
  • Prison Years recreates the tall stone tower and sounds of Robben Island and uses Nelson Mandela’s words and letters in a powerful AV experience of life in his prison cell.
  • Anti-Apartheid in Britain celebrates the contributions of British trade unions, celebrities and individuals that helped bring about the end of the apartheid government.
  • Freedom? presents the violence of the early 1990s through original news footage of the day and celebrates the miracle of the first democratic election.
  • Healing a Nation shares iconic objects and video contributions by family members, former staff and famous names including Neneh Cherry, Peter Gabriel and Lewis Hamilton, to show how Nelson Mandela united South Africa and inspired the world.
  • A Moment with Mandela gives each visitor the opportunity to hear directly from Madiba inspiring the next generation to pick up the torch and carry on the legacy.
This item was of particular importance to
Mandela and he often enquired as
to its whereabouts in his later years.

Mandela: The Official Exhibition will be on display at 26 Leake Street  Gallery from the 8th February. 

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