Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory Chief Executive Achmat Dangor
As we reach the end of a very eventful year, we would like to thank all of you for your friendship and support. This was demonstrated by the outpouring of sympathy, and the tributes that followed our Chairperson, Professor Jakes Gerwel’s passing last month. We see it again in the numerous messages wishing our Founder, Nelson Mandela, well during his stay in hospital.
2012 has been a crucial year in the development of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory. The refurbishing of the Centre’s building in Houghton, Johannesburg commenced earlier this year and will be completed by April 2013. The Centre will have state-of-the-art archival facilities capable of effectively preserving the truly historical personal archive that Madiba entrusted to the Centre, and be a safe space for dialogues around critical social issues. In the coming years the Centre’s dialogue programme will seek to stimulate solution-oriented debate around the theme of “building social cohesion”. The refurbishing will also facilitate increased public access.
“Reading rooms” will be created where the archives can be accessed via computers, and a permanent exhibition on the “life and times of Nelson Mandela” installed. We in particular hope to reach out to young people, arranging visits by learners, university students, etc. We want once more to thank the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund for the generous grant that made this transformative refurbishment possible.
Our dialogue programme will strive to ensure that our society, in its transition, finds ways of overcoming the alienation inherent to our divided past. The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory will continue to be a platform where people with different, and even polarised, views can openly debate such issues. The Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture will continue to be a high point of the dialogue programme. Details about the date, venue and speaker will be sent out early in 2013. The Nelson Mandela Day Campaign, co-ordinated from the Centre, will once more work with all kinds of stakeholders in order to empower communities to take charge of their own destinies. Remember to make every day a Mandela Day!
Once again, thank you for your support and we know that you will be walking with us on the long journey ahead, as we promote Nelson Mandela’s legacy.
Safe and happy holidays to you and your family
Achmat Dangor, Chief Executive