HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NELSON MANDELA! CELEBRATING WITH SOME SOUTH AFRICA ARTIFACTS FROM THE WOLFSONIAN COLLECTION

Having grown up and attended college in New England, I felt so very far removed from the struggles for racial equality being waged against the regime and regimen of apartheid rule in South Africa. What brought that struggle into my social consciousness were some of the anti-apartheid songs (“Free Nelson Mandela,” Billy Bragg’s “Chile Your Waters Run Red Through Soweto,” and Peter Gabriel’s “Biko”), as well as films like Cry Freedom (1987) a drama about the life and death of Stephen Bantu Biko, the anti-apartheid activist who died in police custody in 1977. After so many years of bloody repression, it seemed incredible to me to hear and see in the news the end of the apartheid government, the reconciliation campaign, and South Africa’s transition to a new society based on racial equality and democracy. And of course, it is impossible to image this transformation without focusing on the inspirational life of Nelson Mandela.

So with Nelson Mandela turning 95 today, I thought I would send out a quick blog to celebrate the occasion with some images from The Wolfsonian-Florida International University collection. As our museum focuses on the period 1851 through 1945, we obviously have nothing about the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, but largely through the generosity of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf, we now possess an impressive collection of rare and primary source materials on the South African colonies and the earlier struggles between Brits and Boers during the First and Second Anglo-Boer Wars (1880–1881 and 1899–1902).

XC2010.08.1.192_000g

XC2010.08.1.189.1_000

XC2010.08.1.162.2.000

XC2010.08.1.176.000

GIFTS OF JEAN S. AND FREDERIC A. SHARF

Frederic Sharf, an independent scholar and collector, has published a number of books on the subject and later donated his collection of rare books, original photograph albums, sketchbooks, journals, and diaries from the South African wars to the Wolfsonian library.

XC2010.08.1.193_000c

XC2010.08.1.227_040

XC2011.08.2.352_053

XC2011.08.2.354_006

XC2011.08.2.354_010

XC2011.08.2.354_013

GIFTS OF JEAN S. AND FREDERIC A. SHARF

In addition to materials dealing with the colonial struggles in Africa, the Wolfsonian also possesses an important collection of ocean liner posters and small print ephemera enticing tourists to visit South Africa in the period between the two world wars.

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86.19.436_001

XC1994.4082

TD1989.317.2_000TD1989.317.2_004

TD1989.317.2_003

XC1994.4092.000

THE MITCHELL WOLFSON, JR. COLLECTION, THE WOLFSONIAN-FIU

Thanks also to the generosity of Laurence Miller, we now also hold a large collection of ocean liner promotional materials for the post-World War II period as well.

XC2008.09.1.273.43_000

GIFT OF LAURENCE MILLER

Our fairly comprehensive collection of inter and post war ocean liner materials is part of our larger collection of travel and tourism ephemera that also includes travel by trains, planes, automobiles, and airships.

XC2008.05.15.140.000

GIFT OF THE SAN DIEGO HISTORICAL SOCIETY

 Other donors, like Ideal Gladstone have added to the library’s 11,000 plus strong collection of vintage postcards with items such as this one.

XC2010.03.1.36.000

GIFT OF IDEAL GLADSTONE MADE IN MEMORY OF HER HUSBAND, JOHN

As anyone who knows me knows, I am an avid movie fan. And so in ending this blog post I thought that I would give a plug for the inspiring 2009 film, Invictus, which stars Morgan Freeman as President Mandela and Matt Damon as the captain of the South African rugby team working towards reconciliation in the post-apartheid era.

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~ by "The Chief" on July 18, 2013.

2 Responses to “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NELSON MANDELA! CELEBRATING WITH SOME SOUTH AFRICA ARTIFACTS FROM THE WOLFSONIAN COLLECTION”

  1. Wonderful! Thanks chief!

  2. Feliz Cumpleanos Mandela, no haz nacido y ya nos haces falta!

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