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Nelson Mandela Museum unveils 90th birthday programme

June 27, 2008

The Nelson Mandela Museum – situated in the Eastern Cape in Mvezo, Qunu and Mthatha – revealed its programme to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday.

The six-month programme of events includes exhibitions, performances, arts and culture activities and even a marathon.

‘As the authentic museum tasked with preserving and sharing Nelson Mandela’s legacy, and situated as we are in the area where Mandela was born and brought up, it is essential that our programme reflects Madiba’s vision and values,’ said CEO Khwezi ka Mpumlwana.

‘His gift is a living one, one that embodies his commitment to the principles of human rights, freedom, peace and democracy. It is these values that we have tried to highlight through our programme,’ he added.

A major exhibition entitled Dear Mrs Parks…Dear Mr Mandela: Children’s Letters, Global Lessons is being created in partnership with the University of Michigan. Working together, the two museums will use these letters to raise awareness of the deep parallels between the struggles for racial justice in the United States and South Africa. It will open at the Nelson Mandela Youth and Community Centre in Qunu on July 19.

‘This extraordinary exhibition uses the letters written by children to Rosa Parks, the civil rights activist in the US who refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white man back in 1956, and to Nelson Mandela. The letters ask these two icons of human rights how best to use the lessons they learnt on their journeys to inspire a new generation of children to become to responsible global citizens,’ said Ka Mpumlwana.

Other exhibitions include The Making of Nelson Mandela which will housed at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, and a Luthuli/Mandela exhibition at the Luthuli Museum in Mthatha.

Many of the events take place on the ground in the Eastern Cape such as the launch of a human rights garden created to produce nutritious food, a football tournament for the youth in the area, a seminar of the work done by Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu, a colloquium celebrating Nelson Mandela’s 90 years that will take place at his alma mater, the University of Fort Hare, and the Heroes Marathon that will take place in December.

Notes to editors: After Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990 and became South Africa’s first democratically elected president in 1994, he was given gifts from people, governments, institutions and nations. Nelson Mandela’s footprints left imprints all over the world and the world wanted to acknowledge his contribution.

He accepted the gifts on condition that he would donate them to the people and that they would be displayed near his home village of Qunu. Instead of building a new space to house the collection, it was decided to create the multi-faceted Nelson Mandela Museum at Mvezo, Qunu and in Mthatha.

Ten years to the day after his release on 11 February 1990, the Nelson Mandela Museum opened its doors. Nelson Mandela insisted it was not just to be a static collection and tribute to him, but a living memorial to his values and vision. It was to inspire and enrich all who visit it, serve as a catalyst for development and should share the heritage and resources linked to him.

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