Memories of a struggle

Event Date: 
26 October 2014
Event Time: 
From 15 September to 26th of October
Event Cost: 
Free
Australians against apartheid

In 1994 when Nelson Mandela became the first democratically elected President of South Africa, he embodied not only the hopes of his long-suffering people but also the spirit of thousands of antiapartheid supporters the world over who worked tirelessly to deliver freedom to South Africa. Among them were many Australians. From as early as 1960, trade unions, the Government, churches and individuals gave their support to the fight for justice in South Africa. In 1996 Nelson Mandela wrote,

“During those bleak decades on Robben Island and later in Pollsmoor Prison, my companions and I would occasionally glean news of anti-apartheid activities being carried out overseas. Such news brought us comfort and hope.

Australians were notable for their participation in the anti-apartheid movement. They gained a reputation in the 1960s and 1970s for their demonstrations against visiting sporting teams and individual players, for the moral and financial aid they gave our cause and for hosting educational tours by visiting speakers.

Later, Australians won recognition for the diplomatic efforts of some of their most senior politicians, such as the former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser and former Foreign Affairs Minister Gareth Evans. In the years that followed, I met many Australian politicians and journalists. But it was not until I visited Australia in 1990 that I grasped fully the extent of the commitment of the Australian people to our struggle for democracy. When I stood on the steps of Sydney Opera House and witnessed the thousands upon thousands of people who had come to greet me I was profoundly moved by this demonstration of support for a democratic and non-racial South Africa.”

This exhibition focuses on Australians who gave generously over many decades to bring about the end of apartheid twenty years ago. Thank you for your hard work and sacrifice in those difficult years, when support for a non-racial South Africa was uncommon, when some of you were incarcerated for your actions, and when your tactics were met with opposition from many.Memories of the Struggle is an acknowledgement of your lifetime of commitment.

Angus Leendertz | Curator

15 September – 26th of October 2014

Ground Floor, Monday to Friday 8am to Midnight, Saturday 10am to Midnight, Sunday 11am to 5pm 

LEVEL 1/2 Monday to Friday 10am to 7pm, Saturday to Sunday 11am to 4pm

CURATOR Angus Leendertz
ASSISTANT CURATOR James Mohr and Tracy Dunn
PROJECT TEAM Meredith Burgmann, Jane Harris, Natalie Hendricks, Ish Larney, Kolin Thumbadoo and Pat Wagner