Mandela Comes To Town


Stephen Weir

Release Date

Tuesday, December 10, 2019


Recently in Toronto, royalty came to town. Chances are you missed out. No, it wasn’t some politician. Nor a Soca star or a famous blogger either. We are talking about the real deal.

On Wednesday, December 4th, Nelson Mandela’s great-grandson Siyabulela Mandela was in the city to speak to journalists, to mark the anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s death and to view the “MANDELA: Struggle for Freedom” exhibition currently on display at the Meridian Arts Centre in North Toronto.

It is a major exhibition developed by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg. The Manitoba museum created this multi-media exhibition in collaboration with South Africa’s Apartheid Museum. It came to Toronto directly from Winnipeg and opened in early October. It runs till January 5th 2020.

The exhibition is described as being a “rich sensory experience of imagery, soundscape, digital media and objects. MANDELA explores Nelson Mandela’s fight for justice and human dignity in South Africa. At Robben Island Prison, a former leper colony and animal quarantine station off Cape Town, Nelson Mandela – Prisoner 466/64 – was kept by South Africa’s white supremacist regime for eighteen years.”

Young Mandela is a professor, a spokesman for the Mandela family and a tireless campaigner for human rights. After touring the Toronto exhibition he went on to speak on a panel for Journalists for Human Rights on the eve of the 6th anniversary of his great grandfather’s death.

Like his great-grandfather Siyabulela Mandela is a charismatic speaker. Closes your eyes, listen closely and you can hear the soul of Madiba speaking to the multitudes. Despite his busy schedule he did find time to answer a few questions that the Caribbean Camera put to him. Below is just one of the answers that Siyabulela gave to the paper’s questions. It has been edited for length.

We live in a world that seems to be divided more than it was ten years ago. There is a rise in populism in different parts of the world by people who seek and speak division and who talk about wanting to build borders. We have anti-immigration sentiments. These are the kinds of messages we have to rise against. It is our collective responsibility to protect the freedoms that were gained by those who sacrificed their lives.

We have to come together; we have a collective responsibility to defend the freedoms that have been won by the generation of Nelson Mandela, the generation of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi in India. Those are the freedoms we are here to protect.

MANDELA, the exhibition is at the Gallery at the Meridian Arts Centre 5040 Yonge Street. There is a $10 admission charge.

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