20 Years of Democracy: Film & Exhibition


Huma is pleased to announce a film screening and a photographic exhibition on South Africa’s “Twenty Years of Democracy”

Madiba Remembered” is a 30 minute documentary poignantly directed by award-winning filmmaker, Mark Kaplan, which captures Nelson Mandela – the man and the icon – from the moment of his death through the recollections of University of Cape Town’s archives, its alumni and its current generation.

UCT Special Collections has a vast collection of Mandela memorabilia comprising films, books, posters, photographs and cartoons. The film draws on images taken by some of South Africa’s foremost photographers, recollections of Artist Lionel Davis who was a fellow prisoner on Robben Island, and internationally acclaimed cartoonist Zapiro (Jonathon Shapiro). Key and diverse voices in this film range from Vice Chancellor Dr. Max Price, Professor Njabulo S Ndebele, Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, Professor Thandabantu Nhlapo and undergraduates.
Propelled by the live performance of brilliant South African musician, Vusi Mahlasela, at a memorial concert, the film is humorous, upbeat and at times, surprising. While the film sets out to document Mandela and his links to UCT, it also has unexpected elements of “Madiba Unplugged”.

20 Years of Democracy” is a photographic exhibition that reflects the special moments the ‘New South Africa’ ushered in as it moved from apartheid to a democracy. As Professor Njabulo Ndebele noted, life in South Africa is about a dance between the spectacular and the ordinary. Using this metaphor, the exhibition shows iconic and ordinary moments that speak to the country’s past and its ongoing evolvement.

The exhibition showcases the work of some of South Africa’s leading photographers and also reflects new voices in a post-apartheid South African photography. It deals with the legacies of the TRC, land reclamation and the AIDS pandemic but despite these dark issues, a current of celebration runs throughout the body of work. Beyond the symbolism embodied by Nelson Mandela himself and all he lived and stood for, photographers in this exhibition also explore the less explored aspects of ordinary society ranging from spirituality to identity and even fashion.
David Goldblatt, whose work also appears in this exhibition, sees his work not in distinct periods but as an ongoing visual interrogation of our society; “During the apartheid years my primary concern was with values: what our values were, how we had arrived at them, and particularly how we expressed them. And once you start with that line of thinking, there is no break, there is a continuation. I am still concerned with what our values are, and how we are expressing them” (Interview Then and Now).
This photographic exhibition, forming a significant part of an extensive digital collection, is drawn from the archives of UCT Libraries’ Special Collections which houses approximately a million photographs representing the work of over one hundred photographers. (Paul Weinberg, Senior Curator of Visual Archives, UCT Libraries)

Cover photo by Paul Weinberg

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