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Mandela's legacy in a London exhibition

South Africa

Nelson Mandela spent almost three decades in prison, clearly his conscious relationship with time can not be under-emphasized.

His closest companion on this isolated island was his watch, which was always kept on South African time wherever he travelled in the world as the country’s first black president. The item was displayed at an exhibition opening in London. The exhibition featured Mandela’s life and legacy.

The London exhibition scrolls through Mandela’s life including his upbringing in rural Eastern Cape as the son of a chief, his 27-year incarceration and the end of apartheid when he became president in 1994, before passing away in 2013 aged 95.

Mandla Mandela the grandson says his grandfather had left him the watch as a gift.

“My grandfather during his presidential years, he wore a watch, a Philippe Patek watch and I’ve made that watch available because he gave me that watch and I think because he was such a committed person and always on time and always upheld time and he was never late for any commitment, even when he travelled abroad his watch remained on South African time which we found hilarious as a family, but that watch is also here on display.”

The show was an important tribute to a “global icon of justice, and it is expected that the exhibition will inspire a sense of action and accountability in younger generations.

“It is critical for us to remember this person, to learn from his lessons, to learn from his legacy. It’s our generation’s responsibility to ensure that we record history for generations to come to understand the character and to understand the glorious human achievement of Nelson Mandela” said Zelda la Grange a former close associate of Mandela.

London is the first city to host the Official Exhibition” before it is permanently mounted in Mandela’s birthplace Mvezo.


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