Immediately upon entering the Mandela exhibit at the Meridian Arts Centre, you are merely walking in the footsteps of the late Nelson Mandela.
From the visuals, sounds and even the recreation of the prison cell Mandela was in for 18 years of his life, you are taken on the journey of Mandela’s profound fight for freedom.
The exhibit opened in Toronto on October 10, 2019, and is also known as, “The Exhibition for Everyone Who Refuses to See the World in Black and White”.
Against the wall, from the floor to the ceiling, hangs a collage of signs and billboards that read “ Whites Only,” “Non-White Entrance Only,” “Waiting Room For Coloured Only,” and more.
Apartheid is a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race. In 1948, the National Party took power, resulting in the White minority controlling 92 percent of the land in South Africa. It created and destroyed neighbourhoods.
In the exhibit, one description reads, “Black, Indian and coloured communities constantly faced dispossession under apartheid law. People could be forcibly removed from their homes at any time if their communities were declared “white areas.””
Walking around the space, you get a sense of who Mandela was. He believed in the right of people to defend themselves against oppression. On a television screen plays an old interview in black and white of Mandela speaking to the interviewer about protesting peacefully to make a change.
The exhibit was originally created for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg. Toronto is the first to set their eyes on the empowering and inspiring exhibit. In fact, when Mandela was freed, the first place he visited outside of Africa was Toronto.
The Mandela Exhibit invites the conversation of if discrimination and segregation is still prominent in our communities in Toronto today. Canada’s history has not always been a peaceful one, as First Nations in this land also experienced being removed from their homes and separated from their children. Much of what the Black, Indian and coloured communities felt in South Africa during the apartheid, is how many First Nations felt in Canada.
Have we progressed as a community to eliminate discrimination and separation? Or is the fight for equality and freedom in Black, Indian and coloured communities still ongoing?
Tickets to the Mandela Exhibit can be bought until the exhibit leaves on January 5, 2020.
Do not miss the opportunity to tour the events of Mandela’s lifetime and educate yourself on Mandela’s efforts to rebuild a nation shattered by racism and injustice.