The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center announced its next major exhibition Feb. 6, Mandela: The Journey to Ubuntu.
The world-premiere exhibition, opening March 24, is in partnership with Matthew Willman, a South-African documentary photographer who was commissioned by The Nelson Mandela Foundation during the last 10 years of Mandela’s life.
Mandela: The Journey to Ubuntu commemorates the life and legacy of former South-African President Nelson Mandela through photographs by Willman as he revisited many of the locations that had played an important role in South Africa’s route to racial equality and Mandela’s personal fight for freedom. Visitors will travel throughout South Africa with Mandela via Willman’s camera lens: Mvezo Village, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Robben Island. The exhibit will also feature artifacts from Mandela’s life on loan to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center from The Nelson Mandela Foundation.
“Apartheid broke apart the very fabric of our society using the barriers of race and gender to isolate and divide,” said Willman. “It created an inferiority complex that even today, we as a country are still working to overcome. Yet, it is this ‘Spirit of Ubuntu’ that exists within all Africans who choose every day to aspire to the highest ideals that this man, Nelson Mandela, laid out for us to achieve. Ubuntu discovers in each of us our calling to begin to move together, to realize our interconnectedness and our responsibility to each other.”
From humble beginnings, to a life dedicated to resistance, Mandela: The Journey to Ubuntu tells the story of a young South-African boy who became a man prepared to die in the name of equality, justice and freedom. This exhibition provides a platform for a sharing of values so richly present in Mandela’s life to understand the role forgiveness, leadership, truth and sacrifice play in overcoming the challenges we face in society today.
“We are not far removed from the era of Apartheid in South Africa,” says Dr. Clarence Newsome, president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. “Mandela’s ‘long walk to freedom’ in 1990 altered the course of history in South Africa and the world. His courage, resistance, perseverance and ability to forgive made him a global icon. We are honored to share his story and commemorate his legacy.”
Mandela: The Journey to Ubuntu opens to the public 11 a.m. March 24. Admission for the exhibit is $5 per person.
For more information about exhibits and programming at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, visit freedomcenter.org.