A UNIQUE exhibition featuring photographs of the countryâ€™s best-loved former leader, Nelson Mandela, by one of its best-known South African photojournalists, Dr Peter Magubane, is a fitting way to mark the 10th anniversary of the only university that bears Mandelaâ€™s name.
The â€œMadiba â€“ Man of the Peopleâ€? exhibition is commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. NMMU was born out of the 1995 merger of the University of Port Elizabeth, the Port Elizabeth Technikon and Vista University Port Elizabeth campus, situated in the Missionvale township.
The NMMU exhibition will be launched on July 20, and will be open to the public from July 21 to September 21. The exhibition will take place at NMMUâ€™s Archives and Exhibition Centre, Second Avenue Campus, Summerstrand from 9am to 4pm on weekdays.
â€œThis is our countryâ€™s history. These are the things that Madiba and so many others were jailed for … Madiba made great sacrifices for us all. We must never forget that,â€? said Magubane (83) who on July 4 received the 2015 Nat Nakasa award for his courageous photojournalism during apartheid. Magubane was jointly awarded by the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef), the Nieman Society and Print Media South Africa.
The award followed the veteran photographerâ€™s honorary doctorate from Wits University last week, and last monthâ€™s Allan Kirkland Soga Lifetime Achiever Award, at the Standard Bank Sikuvile Journalism Awards.
Magubane travelled the world at Mandelaâ€™s side, photographing him with royalty and heads of state, but also saw him relaxing at home with his family, capturing quieter, more intimate moments rarely seen by the world.
Magubane turned these photographs â€“ with powerful images from pivotal struggle events like Sharpeville and the 1976 Soweto riots â€“ into the book Man of the People: A photographic tribute to Nelson Mandela.
The exhibition includes photographs from â€œthe early yearsâ€? (when Mandela was a rising politician), â€œthe struggle yearsâ€? and â€œthe freedom yearsâ€?.
â€œI am thrilled that this exhibition is taking place at NMMU – the only university in the world that carries the Mandela name – during an important milestone, the 10th anniversary year of the university,â€? he said. â€œIt is equally delightful that this important, new-generation university is located in the Eastern Cape, which happens to be the backbone of the South African liberation struggle, led by leaders like Mandela, many of whom were born and educated in the Eastern Cape.â€?