Nelson Mandela Bay Executive Mayor Benson Fihla, a coveted anti-Apartheid freedom fighter and statesman described the Living Legend exhibition in his honour as a unique opportunity to see and hear what others think of his contribution to society.
Affectionately known as Oom Ben, Mayor Fihla spent 14 years on Robben Island for his activism in the ANC after joining the liberation movement in 1954 and subsequently received tutelage from Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mhlaba and Sam Ntunjwa. He was also placed under house arrest and narrowly missed the noose of the hangman when Vuyisile Mini, Wilson Khayingo and Zinakile Mkaba were executed by hanging in November 1964.
“I once heard a story of a man who staged his own funeral so that he could find out if he was liked and what others have to say about his life and his contribution to society.
“This experience is similar to that example because I have a unique opportunity to know what others have to say about me while I am still alive,” Mayor Fihla said.
The exhibition entitled Life and Times of Ben Fihla officially opened yesterday (Wednesday, 17 December) at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum will be on display until 18 January 2015.
The municipality’s Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture Directorate launched the Nelson Mandela Bay Legacy Programme earlier, starting with the life story of struggle veteran Nkosinathi Benson Fihla and followed with a series of community events and activities throughout Nelson Mandela Bay.
Noxolo Nqwazi, Executive Director of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture, said the events will be branded as Nelson Mandela Bay Legacy Projects aimed at contributing to the values that Nelson Mandela exemplified such as nation-building, humanity, love and unity amongst others.
Mayor Fihla said Nelson Mandela often reminded us that there were many others who played a role during the struggle for liberation and deserve to be recognized as well.
“There were thousands of other prisoners also at Robben Island. The history of our country is very important and must be written in order to preserve it for the generous to come after us.
“I am thankful for this unique honour. Thank you very much,” Mayor Fihla said.
Article source: http://mype.co.za/new/mayoral-exhibition-opening/44035/2014/12