The struggle against apartheid created many heroes, whose sacrifices then have now become their legacy. Many of the “liberation before education” generation today find themselves unemployable and living in poverty. Shirley Gunn, of the Human Rights Media Centre, said many people who played a tremendous role in defeating apartheid had now been abandoned. Their stories have not been forgotten though and will be told in an exhibition called “Breaking the Silence: A Luta Continua” at the Iziko Slave Lodge in Adderley Street.
According to Gunn, it “documents a process involving over a thousand members of the Khulumani Support Group, Western Cape, who used scrapbooks, body-maps, photographs, memory cloths, drawings, paintings, art banners and film to tell the stories of their lives under apartheid”.
The purpose is to give unacknowledged heroes and survivors of the struggle against apartheid a chance to remember and express their experiences, and to create a record that might honour their sacrifice and educate future generations.
Some of the memories are poignant, others painful. On one life-size body-map, the artist has written: “The struggle for me has never ended”. One has an arrow pointing to his arm and says “hit with a panga, 1990” while another writes “shot seven times and left for dead, 1991”.
The exhibition is an opportunity for people to share what they saw and experienced under apartheid. A total of 60 000 people lost their homes in the KTC, Nyanga Bush, Nyanga Extension and Crossroads. The exhibition will also highlight the international campaign against torture and issues relating to reparations and the international apartheid lawsuit.
The exhibition runs until November. The Iziko Slave Lodge is open Mondays to Fridays, 10am -4.30pm, and Saturdays 10am- 1pm. Entrance is R10 for adults and R5 for children.