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Following Mandela's footsteps

TIME TO REFLECT: The grandson of Nelson Mandela, Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, takes a moment during his time at the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton, south London

NKOSI ZWELIVELILE MANDELA stopped by the UK last week to take a stroll through south London, just as his grandfather did many years ago.

Driven to continue the good work carried out in the family name, Nkosi, who admitted earlier this year that he was ‘quite protected’ from the harsh realities that his grandfather confronted as an activist leader, told Life & Style that he was not concerned with cementing a legacy for himself, it was more important to fulfil his role as a humanitarian.

Here to promote the exclusive Nelson Mandela: The official exhibition, the only exhibition to be presented in collaboration with The Royal House of Mandela which is unveiled in the UK next year, Nkosi went on a tour of the key places that Mandela visited in his famed visits to Brixton, returning to locations of his grandfather’s speeches and other places in the area that were key to the UK anti-apartheid movement (the largest outside of South Africa).

While in Brixton, Chief Mandela (Nkosi is the traditional leader of Mvezo) was also given a tour of the Black Cultural Archives, the only black repository in the country, with the lead archivist and director Paul Reid.

HISTORY: Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela with Black Cultural Archives director Paul Reid

Looking forward to the exhibition, he said: “London and the United Kingdom more broadly was home to many South African exiles and activists in the anti-apartheid struggle.

“In the 1980s and ‘90s Trafalgar Square and South Africa House was the scene of many a picket and protest action and this news found its way to Mandela in his cell, either in encoded messages, by word of mouth and in the latter years, via news clippings.

“It was therefore no surprise that Madiba chose London as one of the first cities outside Africa to visit as a free man after his 27-year incarceration.

“I can say without the slightest doubt that Madiba would have given his stamp of approval to staging this exhibition in London.”

Lizzy Moriarty, exhibition advisor to Nelson Mandela: The Official Exhibition said: “It is only once in a professional lifetime that a chance comes along to work on an exhibition of such magnitude, with objects which tell such a powerful story so relevant to our times. The exhibition is unusual in that it gives people the chance to get close to the man himself, as a family man, as an activist and as the peacemaker of his time.

“Many of the objects in the exhibition come from his house and have never been catalogued or curated before.

“They accompanied him through his life and through them, we can speak of his extraordinary life and his contribution to reconciliation. It will be like wandering through his life with him guiding you and asking you what you would have done in the same situation.”

See full interview The Voice YouTube channel

The Official Exhibition, in association with the Royal House of Mandela, opens at 26, Leake Street in February 2019. See for details

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