New exhibition to educate on American activists’ role in opposing apartheid

KwaZulu-Natal Museum to launch a new exhibition. Picture: Supplied.

KwaZulu-Natal Museum to launch a new exhibition. Picture: Supplied.

Published Jul 10, 2024


The KwaZulu-Natal Museum will on Thursday officially open a temporary exhibition called America’s Voices Against Apartheid which will be up for a year.

Museum public relations and marketing officer Viranna Frank said the exhibition would explore the deep ties between African Americans and black South Africans that have spanned over 150 years, forming the foundation of anti-apartheid activism in the United States.

She said it would highlight the similarities between oppression faced by African Americans under Jim Crow laws and black South Africans under apartheid, showcasing the global fight against racial discrimination.

Frank said travellers would learn about the significant contributions of American activists who opposed apartheid and fought for racial equality at home and abroad. She said a special feature includes a film showcasing the role of artists in the anti-apartheid movement.

“This includes footage of Winston Ntshona and John Kani’s Tony Award acceptance in 1975 and Stevie van Zandt’s powerful speech at Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday concert in 1998,” said Frank.

The themes of the exhibition would be the following:

  • Preaching and Teaching: The role of Black churches, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the United States, and Historically Disadvantaged Institutions (HDIs) in South Africa as centres of creativity, scholarship, and activism.
  • The Power of the Press: How the development of a Black press in South Africa and the United States fostered solidarity and organised resistance.
  • Avenues for Activism: The impact of political, sports, and cultural figures such as Caroline Hunter, Randall Robinson, Silvia Hill, Arthur Ashe, and Harry Belafonte.

Frank added that they are in partnership with the Consulate General of the United States in Durban, and are collaborating with the National African American Drug Policy Coalition and the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg.

The exhibition is funded by the US Mission to South Africa.

Independent on Saturday