Nelson Mandela: The Official Exhibition

When we were exploring the idea of a small group of world leaders brought together for their wisdom and moral authority (, Richard Branson and I were convinced that one individual would encapsulate that dream better than anyone else alive. That was Nelson Mandela. To have come out of 27 years of imprisonment and not only choose forgiveness but offer those who had been your oppressors, captors and torturers a role in rebuilding South Africa – the ‘Rainbow Nation’ showed courage and extraordinary leadership. It is very important now we are faced with so many global problems, that we remember what a real leader can be and how much their actions can inspire us. Long live Madiba! – Peter Gabriel.

Mandela: The Official Exhibition is the major new global touring exhibition that takes visitors on a personal journey through the life of the world’s most iconic freedom fighter and political leader. A revolutionary experience that celebrates his life and legacy, the exhibition makes its World Premiere in London at 26 Leake Street Gallery at Waterloo’s Graffiti Tunnels.  The exhibition has just opened and runs until 2 June 2019.

Through a series of immersive zones (detailed below) – each one a dramatically different experience – the narrative of the exhibition takes us on a journey through a remarkable life. An interactive experience covering 750 square metres, featuring previously unseen film, photos and the display of over 150 historical artefacts and personal effects on loan from the Mandela family, museums and archives worldwide.

  • The Early Years features a replica of a traditional rondavel set among the rolling hills of the Transkei. This section examines both the traditional Thembu culture and the life of a rural farm boy via a variety of traditional artefacts.
  • The Struggle is My Life uses participatory media to enable visitors to feel the hardships of apartheid exploring themes that include the degradation of segregation, the pass burning movement of the Defiance campaign and the harshness of police brutality.
  • Prison Years recreates the tall stone tower and sounds of Robben Island and uses Nelson Mandela’s words and letters in a powerful AV experience of life in his prison cell.
  • Anti-Apartheid in Britain celebrates the contributions of British trade unions, celebrities and individuals that helped bring about the end of the apartheid government.
  • Freedom? presents the violence of the early 1990s through original news footage of the day and celebrates the miracle of the first democratic election.
  • Healing a Nation shares iconic objects and video contributions by family members, former staff and famous names including Neneh Cherry, Peter Gabriel and Lewis Hamilton, to show how Nelson Mandela united South Africa and inspired the world.
  • A Moment with Mandela gives each visitor the opportunity to hear directly from Madiba inspiring the next generation to pick up the torch and carry on the legacy.

A portion of the exhibition proceeds will be given to the Mvezo Development Trust to support economic development programmes in South Africa’s Eastern Cape.

Mandela: The Official Exhibition
Friday February 8th – Sunday 2nd June 2019
26 Leake Street | South Bank | London | SE1 7NN (nearest Tube Waterloo) | Dedicated Booking Line: 0844 453 9094.

SOUTH AFRICA – CIRCA 1990: Nelson Mandela, Alfred Nzo and Joe Slovo in Cape Town, South Africa in 1990 – Nelson MANDELA at the airport to greet Alfred NZO and Joe SLOVO, the secretary general of the South African Communist Party, back from exile. (Photo by Lily FRANEY/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)