Mandela in Dublin: A Legacy of the Irish Anti-Apartheid Movement

Nelson Mandela Gateway
2 October 2013 – 30 March 2014
Mandela in Dublin: A Legacy of the Irish Anti-Apartheid Movement
Nelson Mandela, the greatest icon of the African Liberation Struggle, the founding father of Democratic South Africa is gone and will forever be with us! He visited Dublin four times in his ‘long walk to freedom’ against racial injustice of Apartheid in South Africa. The first visit after his release in 1990, from 27 years of imprisonment, 18 of which were spent on Robben Island was to thank the Irish people for their unflinching support and solidarity in the struggle against the inhumanity and injustice of Apartheid in South Africa and to urge them to ‘walk the last mile with us’, toward a new South Africa. This was followed by a brief visit in October 1993. He visited Dublin again in 2000 when he was conferred with an honorary Law degree from Trinity College Dublin and lastly in 2003 to formally open the Special Olympics.
While these were his only visits to Ireland, however, as early as 1964 his presence was already established in Dublin.  In 1964 Nelson Mandela was awarded an honorary membership of the Philosophical Society of Trinity College Dublin. On July 18 1978, his 60th birthday was celebrated at Liberty Hall and on 26 June 1983, the City Council of Dublin dedicated a Sculpture at Merrion Square to Mandela.  On 18 July 1988, Mandela’s 70th birthday was celebrated with a concert by Christy Moore, Sinead O'Connor and Mary Black at Olympia theatre, Dublin. On 19 July, a day after his 70th Birthday, Mandela was declared a FREEMAN of DUBLIN, at a ceremony at Merrion Square. This award was received on his behalf by Adelaide Tambo (wife of late Oliver Tambo) on the 21 September at a ceremony in Mansion House. In 1990 Mandela’s release was marked by widespread celebration including hosting of ANC Flag on all Public Buildings and a Thanksgiving Service held at Merrion Square.

This exhibition commemorates Mandela in Dublin through reflections of what NELSON MANDELA means for humanity by celebrating his ‘long walk’ to ‘FREEDOM’ through Dublin. It commemorates the legacy of the Irish Anti-Apartheid Movement as a testimony to the heritage of the universal struggle against racial injustice and Ireland’s contribution to the International Anti-Apartheid Struggle.
In saluting Nelson Mandela at his passing and celebrating his life through the commemoration of his visits to Dublin. This exhibition also celebrates the contributions of the Irish people to the Anti-Apartheid struggle and the life of IAAM Volunteer-in-Chief Prof. Kader Asmal and his wife Mrs. Louise Asmal, the Dunnes Stores strikers and other activists and volunteers too numerous to mention who through their personal conviction, commitment, dedication and sacrifices inspired by Mandela made the struggle for FREEDOM, EQUALITY and SOCIAL JUSTICE in the World non-negotiable ideals to live for!
Dr. Olusegun Morakinyo
Academic Coordinator
African Programme in Museum and Heritage Studies
Robben Island Museum – University of the Western Cape

Posted by Maryna Warren on 09/01/2014 11:40:14 | Filed under: africa, anti-apartheid, IAAM, irish, Madiba, Mandela, south

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