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MADIBA MAN OF DESTINY (article first published : 2006-06-17)

The Durban Art Gallery is hosting Madiba Man of Destiny, an exhibition by renowned photographer Dr Peter Magubane. This coincides with Striving together for Life and Peace, a conference of the 16th World Council of YMCA’s meeting in Durban in July (see separate article).

This exhibition captures the life of Nelson Mandela to date and provides insight into the life of a man who has played a critical role in the establishment of a democratic South Africa. It encapsulates moments in history that gives the viewer a glimpse of Madiba as a man of destiny, interacting with ordinary citizens, his family, high profile political figures and also features significant political events.

Different events reflecting the history of South Africa and experiences of South Africans during and after the era of Apartheid are featured and the exhibition reads like a narrative revealing the oppression, the struggle and victory of all South Africans reflected through the life of Madiba.

The photographs on the show are themed into a “before and after”, as it were, and also includes a section on family.

The “before” images from as early as 1958 capture solemn moments of humiliation, shock, pending conviction, unity of concern, and many other experiences that capture the mood of a South Africa past. These photographs in a glimpse lay bare the sacrifices, loss of life, heroism, the unity in struggle and yet in dignified organisation that freedom fighters endured in the era of apartheid in South Africa. These images impress on the viewer a reminder of the grand value of our democracy as South Africans.

“Family’ photographs include images of Winnie Mandela’s arrest and banishment and Madiba with family members at events, gatherings and functions dating to 2005. Madiba, as a family man amongst loved ones beyond politics. The family sharing in Madiba’s political trials and tribulations is nuanced in different image narratives that articulate and transport to the exhibition a tender human perspective that seems to have in part been a critical lifeline that sustained perseverance in the struggle, and that in the end celebrate freedom in gatherings and celebrations portraying moments of the family and friends enjoying being together.

As an advocate and fighter for freedom of black South Africans and a South African democracy, Madiba’s release from prison was and will remain in the history of South Africa, the mark of the beginning of a South African democracy.

As the apex of the political narrative in the exhibition, the freedom of Madiba sheds light on the darker theme of suffering reflected in the more violent, sad and oppressive images. Images of Madiba as national and international ambassador for South Africa and humanity, conclude the destiny of glory worthy of Madiba.

This exhibition was curated by the Roodepoort Museum and began its tour at Orlando East community hall Soweto as part of the events that marked the conferment of freedom of the City of Johannesburg to Madiba in July 2004.

Madiba Man of Destiny runs at the Durban Art Gallery until July 30.




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