A new museum display will celebrate Dundee’s support in campaigning to free Nelson Mandela during South Africa’s apartheid.
The McManus exhibition opens to celebrate Nelson Mandela Day on Sunday.
Included in the collection are signed first editions of Mandela’s books, In His Own Words and The Long Walk to Freedom, as well as items relating to the campaign for the release of the inspirational figure who would become his nation’s first democratically elected president.
The items are from Dundee West MP Chris Law’s personal collection of Mandela material built up over more than a decade.
Mr Law started it while working in Namibia with an international charity two decades ago.
Nelson Mandela’s Legacy
Nelson Mandela was imprisoned in 1962 and spent 27 years locked up until the end of apartheid in 1989 for his role in fighting for racial equality in the then segregated South Africa.
Back in Dundee, an Anti-Apartheid Scottish committee formed in 1976, remaining active until 1994.
The first two meetings of the group were held at Dundee University, with a group campaigning continuously for Mandela’s release.
In 1985, thanks to the efforts of campaigners, Mandela – who was still imprisoned at the time – was awarded the Freedom of Dundee.
The city also marked Mandela’s fight to free his fellow countrymen from apartheid with a plaque unveiled in 1997 in the Central Library.
At a ceremony in Glasgow in 1993, Mandela was finally made a Freeman of Dundee in person, where he was also presented with the Freedoms of eight other cities.
The campaign for racial equality is one that still goes on across Dundee today.
In the summer of 2020, hundreds of Dundonians took part in a Black Lives Matter protest in the city, following the murder of George Floyd by an American police officer.
Last September, Dundee City Council agreed to a number of measures including installing a permanent exhibition on Dundee’s slavery links at The McManus and creating a walking trail around the city.
Mr Law said it was important to remember the legacy Mandela left behind, not only in South Africa, but in Dundee too.
He said: “In 2001, following a stint working with Raleigh International in Namibia, I visited Robben Island in South Africa and experienced first-hand the conditions Mandela endured for almost fifty years.
“He 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 and 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.
“We are grateful to Chris Law for loaning these items so that we can share the significance of this period with our visitors.”
The collection will be on display at The McManus until the end of the year.