The McManus: Dundee's Art Gallery & Museum invited Chris Law MP, ahead of Nelson Mandela Day on Sunday 18 July, to view items on loan from his collection that they have been put on display in their Making of Modern Dundee Gallery. Included in the display are signed first editions of 'In His Own Words' and 'The Long Walk to Freedom' by Nelson Mandela as well as ephemera and interesting items relating to the campaign to free Mandela that have been collected over the past 20 years.
Nelson Mandela, the former-President of South Africa, spent 27 years in prison on Robben Island under South African Apartheid, from 1962 until his eventual release at the end of Apartheid in 1989. The Anti-Apartheid Scottish Committee formed in Dundee in 1976, and was active under that title until 1994. They held their first two meetings at the University of Dundee, and a Dundee group campaigned continuously locally. Their work resulted in the award of Freedom of the City to the then jailed Mandela in 1985, and the Wellgate Library was given the title The President Mandela Centre following his release and election. In 1993, Mandela was finally awarded the Freedom of the City of Dundee, at a special event in Glasgow where he was also presented with the Freedoms of eight other cities.
Chris Law, talking about the collection, said:
"In 2001, following a stint working with Raleigh International in Tanzania, I visited Robben Island in South Africa and experienced first hand the conditions that he endured for almost fifty years.
"Mandela helped changed the views and attitudes of millions around the world, and through the anti-apartheid campaign shaped campaigners who have continued to press on important global injustices to this day.
"I started this collection upon returning from South Africa, and ended upon his sad death in 2013. I feel it is important we continue to remember and celebrate Mandela's legacy not just in South Africa, but worldwide including here in Dundee."
Billy Gartley, Head of Cultural Services at Leisure & Culture Dundee said:
"We hope visitors enjoy this display and that it reminds everyone of the role Dundonians played in campaigning for Nelson Mandela's release. The anti-apartheid movement marked an important time in world history and we are grateful to Chris Law for loaning these items so that we can share the significance of this period with our visitors."
The items will be on display at The McManus until the end of the year.