“India’s Historical Journey with Africa: Marching Ahead Together”- Exhibition at National Museum

The Nelson Mandela International Day is celebrated every year on 18th July. It is a way to recognize the life and legacy of the global icon and to honour his contributions to the culture of peace and freedom. This year, the Vivekananda International Foundation, in partnership with National Museum and South African High Commission commemorated the birth anniversary of Nelson Mandela with a special exhibition.

The exhibition titled “India’s Historical Journey with Africa: Marching Ahead Together” was inaugurated by the High Commissioner of South Africa, H.E. Joel Sibusiso Ndebele and Dammu Ravi, Secretary (Economic Relations), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on 18th July 2023 at National Museum highlighting Mandela’s values and dedication to the service of humanity.

Addressing at the inaugural ceremony, High Commissioner of South Africa, H.E. Joel Sibusiso Ndebele acknowledged India’s contribution to decolonization of Africa and India as the champion of the Global South. Dammu Ravi, Secretary (Economic Relations), MEA, emphasized the importance of cultural events and exhibitions, as the special exhibition at National Museum that capture the values and legacy of icons like Nelson Mandela. He also reaffirmed India’s commitment to include the African Union as permanent member of the G20.

Shri Ashish Goyal, Additional Director General of National Museum mentioned how India-Africa ties that go beyond two millennia can be further strengthened by showcasing the cultural and art practices of African nations. He emphasized the immense scope for exhibiting African arts and culture at the National Museum and the exploring of existing MoUs with African museums to showcase African heritage and India-Africa ties across India

Dr Arvind Gupta, Director VIF, noted that the United Nations declared 2019-2028 as Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace in September 2018. This has assumed relevance due to the multiple crisis that afflict the world today. Dr Ruchita Beri, Consultant at MP-IDSA recounted her seeing Nelson Mandela and the enthusiasm of Indian visit during his visit to India after his release. Ambassador Anil Trigunayat (Retd), Distinguished Fellow VIF gave vote of thanks and expounded how Gandhi was the gift of Africa to India, and Mandela the gift of India to Africa.

On show from 18th Jul to 31st Jul 2023, the exhibition “India’s Historical Journey with Africa: Marching Ahead Together” showcases the historic journey of India-Africa friendship through the exhibition of historic and present-day images as well as exhibits. Since the eighth century BC, India and many African countries had regular trade relations. Today, India and Africa have a thriving partnership driven by capacity building, development cooperation, and economic and technological initiatives to develop together as equals. This event is an opportunity to celebrate this deep connection.

The main objectives of the present exhibition is to commemorate Mandela Day in honour of Mandela’s values and for his commitment to the service of humanity and to create awareness of the India-Africa connection, from past to present. The exhibition also enables the exploration of different facets of India-Africa diplomacy and people-to-people connection and promote and strengthen this historical bonding and generate interest among the common public to learn more about India and Africa.

To commemorate the Mandela Day, Vivekananda International Foundation prepared a photo exhibition of nearly 60 photos from ancient to recent times. The National Museum has also collated a display of nearly 20 antiquities from ancient Egypt (Africa) and these include female figurines, animals, and functional objects like lamps, pots and decorative panels. Finally, South Africa High Commission also contributed photos related to Mandela as well as several exhibits recognizing African art and culture.

The exhibition would remain on view until 30th July 2023 from 10 am – 6.00 pm. National Museum remains closed on Mondays and National Holidays.

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