An Interview with Matthew Willman – A South African documentary photographer talks about the world premiere exhibition “Mandela the Journey to Ubuntu” at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

About The Exhibit: “Mandela: The Journey to Ubuntu” commemorates the life and legacy of former South African President Nelson Mandela through photographs by Matthew Willman as he revisited many of the locations that had played an important role in South Africa’sroute to racial equality and Mandela’s personal fight for freedom. Visitors will travel throughout South Africa with Mandela via Willman’s camera lens: Mvezo Village, Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Robben Island. The exhibit will also feature artifacts from Mandela’s life on loan to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center from The Nelson Mandela Foundation. The interview was conducted on March 24, 2017 at the the National Underground Rreedom Center – Cincinnati, Ohio

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CINCINNATI, OH (February 6, 2017) – The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center announces its next major exhibition today, Mandela: The Journey to Ubuntu. The world premiere exhibition, opening Friday, March 24, 2017, is in partnership with Matthew Willman, a South African documentary photographer who was commissioned by The Nelson Mandela Foundation during the last 10 years of Mandela’s life. Admission for Mandela: The Journey to Ubuntu is $5.00 per person. The exhibition is sponsored by John and Francie Pepper, Macy’s, and ArtsWave.

Mandela: The Journey to Ubuntu commemorates the life and legacy of former South African President Nelson Mandela through photographs by Willman as he revisited many of the locations that had played an important role in South Africa’s route to racial equality and Mandela’s personal fight for freedom. Visitors will travel throughout South Africa with Mandela via Willman’s camera lens: Mvezo Village, Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Robben Island. The exhibit will also feature artifacts from Mandela’s life on loan to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center from The Nelson Mandela Foundation.

“Apartheid broke apart the very fabric of our society using the barriers of race and gender to isolate and divide. It created an inferiority complex that even today, we as a country are still working to overcome,” says Willman. “Yet, it is this ‘Spirit of Ubuntu’ that exists within all Africans who choose every day to aspire to the highest ideals that this man, Nelson Mandela, laid out for us to achieve. Ubuntu discovers in each of us our calling to begin to move together, to realize our inter-connectedness and our responsibility to each other.”

From humble beginnings, to a life dedicated to resistance, Mandela: The Journey to Ubuntu tells the story of a young South African boy who became a man prepared to die in the name of equality, justice, and freedom. This exhibition provides a platform for a sharing of values so richly present in Mandela’s life to understand the role forgiveness, leadership, truth, and sacrifice play in overcoming the challenges we face in society today.

“We are not far removed from the era of Apartheid in South Africa,” says Dr. Clarence G. Newsome, President of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. “Mandela’s ‘long walk to freedom’ in 1990 altered the course of history in South Africa and the world. His courage, resistance, perseverance, and ability to forgive made him a global icon. We are honored to share his story and commemorate his legacy.”

Mandela: The Journey to Ubuntu opens to the public on Friday, March 24, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. Admission for the exhibit is $5.00 per person. For more information about exhibits and programming at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, visit freedomcenter.org.

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About National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in August 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, more than 1.3 million people have visited its permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom. Two million people have utilized educational resources online at freedomcenter.org, working to connect the lessons of the Underground Railroad to inform and inspire today’s global and local fight for freedom. Partnerships include Historians Against Slavery, Polaris Project, Free the Slaves, US Department of State and International Justice Mission. In 2014, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center launched a new online resource in the fight against modern slavery, endslaverynow.org.

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