MEMORY OF SOUTH AFRICA
A PRISON SENTENCE NEVER TO BE FORGOTTEN
What has the faded document above got to do with the 2 photgraphs beneath it?
(The 2 colour photographs are taken from the photographic exhibition of Pieter Hugo currentl showing at the Yossi Milo Gallery in new York (It runs from September 6th 2013-October 19th 2013)? Click on the link below to be taken to the gallery's website.http://www.yossimilo.com/.)
The faded document is the arrest warrant for Nelson Mandela, issues in 1961.
In South Africa, in the 1950s and 1960s, black people were treated badly by white people, because they were black. The whites hated the blacks so much that they passed rules to keep the black people in South African society separate form the white people. These rules also made the black people legally inferior to the white people. It is a bit like separating the children in a school class into those with blue eyes and those with brown eyes and saying that those with blue eyes are better and get more treats. This 'system' of living 'together' but 'apart' in this way is known as 'apartheid'. it meant that white people got all the best jobs, only white people could exercise political power.
After a while, in an attempt to fight against this unjust racist social and political system of aparthheid and replace it with a fair, democratic social and political system in which whites were equal to blacks. , some black people in South Africa began to organise themselves. The main organization of resistance and fight against apartheid eventually came to be the ANC and the PAC.
This organizations grew and became so dangerous in the government's eyes that in 1960 the white South African government banned the ANC and PAC. It also passed laws enabling it to arrest the leaders of the ANC and PAC. The picture above shows the arrest warrant of one of them. His name was Nelson Mandela. Those leaders were then brought before the judges in the white South African courts. This trial was called the Rivonia Trial. During the trial Nelson Mandela famously used the occasion to pronounce to the public the aims and principles of the ANC and PAC. In the end, Nelson Mandela and the other ANC leaders were sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island. They stayed there until their release in 1990.