Thursday, December 14, 2017

Honouring Mandela


Icon: Minister of National Diversity and Social Integration, Rodger Samuel and acting executive director of Nalis Joan Osborne look at one of the pieces from the exhibition, titled Mandela... The Evolution of a World Icon. —Photo: Anisto Alves

Mark Fraser

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” said, Minister of National Diversity and Social Integration, Rodger Samuel who quoted the words of former South African president, Nelson Mandela.

Samuel was speaking at a special art exhibition launched at the National Library and Information System Authority (Nalis) head office, corner of Hart and Abercromby streets, Port of Spain in tribute to the freedom fighter, titled, “Mandela: The Evolution of a World Icon” on Monday. The exhibition commemorates the life and work of Mandela and will be on display at the National Library’s rotunda from July 14 and ends Friday, July 25.

Samuel said, “Only with awareness, can we bring about change.

“Change is what this nation needs,” he said.

He urged the small gathering that it is important to encourage each other to do good. “Let us embrace the ideologies of Nelson Mandela. He did not want to be remembered as brick and stone and statutes all over the place because he felt his ideologies could be embraced and embedded in the psyche of humanity,” he said.

Apart from the exhibition there would be screening of documentaries in the audio visual room of the National Library. These documentaries include: Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom; Lives that changed the world; Mandiba: The life and times of Nelson Mandela; Mandela: Son of Africa, Father of a Nation and Amandla: A Revolution in four part harmony.

He said, “Subsequent to this launch we plan to launch our “Do Good Programme”.

Looking at the front pages of our daily newspapers, that too has to change, Samuel said.

“What you feed your mind with forms and shape your characteristics. If you have been feeding the nation with all of the bad stuff then what do we expect the outcome to be. We need to feed the nation with something good,” he said.

“I am not attacking the media but I am challenging the media so we can start changing the dynamics of what we put on the front page,” he said.

He challenged the media to be a part of the “Do Good Programme” and hopes that one day he would see more good things and people doing good things on the front page.

Government archivist, Avril Belfon said the exhibition features the many aspects of Mandela’s life with themes such as:

Finding the Path

A Reluctant Revolutionary 

From Prisoner to President

Caribbean Contribution to the Anti-Apartheid Movement

“It is hoped that these activities will invoke the spirit of Madiba in Trinidad and Tobago and cement in our people some of the values which he embodied: Peace, Justice, Volunteerism Reconciliation, Love,” she said.

“Let us celebrate the memory of Mandela by making ourselves aware of his life; aware of his struggle and by making ourselves aware of his fight for freedom. Freedom is not the right to do what you want but freedom is the power to do what is right,” Samuel said.

Recognising the birth date of this civil rights activist, July 18, 1918 a week of activities has been carded to honour him and will culminate July 18, International Nelson Mandela Day with a celebration on the Brian Lara Promenade and a concert titled, “Calypso throughout the years: Madiba Lives” at City Hall in San Fernando, Samuel said.

 “Nelson Mandela not only offered a legacy for life and living. He also taught us about humanity. He taught us that the most difficult task is not to bring about change in others, but to bring about change, in yourself. Madiba taught us to do good, to do better than your best. He taught us the value of dignity, democracy, justice, love and peace,” he said.