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Nelson Mandela… Arts exhibition celebrates the life,...
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Nelson Mandela… Arts exhibition celebrates the life, work of a legend

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    South African Consulate General, Lagos Office, Mr. Darkey Africa, Deputy Director of Library NIIA, Mrs. Pamela

    “It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership” – Nelson Mandela

    The above quote best captured the mood and the focus of the symposium, Film Screening and Photo exhibitions organised by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos. It was held in collaboration with Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), South African Consulate General, Lagos and United Nations Association of Nigeria (UNAN), as part of activities marking the 2016 Nelson Mandela International Day and held at NIIA.

    The UN General Assembly in November 2009, declared July 18 as the ‘Nelson Mandela International Day’ in recognition of his contribution to the culture of peace and freedom. Whilst the General Assembly resolution of 2009 recognizes Nelson Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service to humanity, its resolution of 2015 on the Nelson Mandela Rules extends the scope of Nelson Mandela International Day to the promotion of humane conditions of imprisonment, to raise awareness about prisoners being a continuous part of society and to value the work of prison staff as a social service of particular importance. The day also provides opportunity to reflect on the life and work of a legend who embodied the highest values of the United Nations.

    In attendance were representatives of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), including Initiatives for Sustaining Gender Empowerment (ISGEM), African Youths Initiative on Crime Prevention (AYICRIP) as well as university and high school students who were conducted round the exhibition and treated to very instructive presentations and lessons on Mandela’s leadership.

    The unwavering commitment of Mandela to his promise to serve for a single term as South African president was commended as leadership lesson for African leaders. Similarly, his decision to forgive and reconcile with his jailers even when he became president was noted as a major step for a stable and peaceful post-apartheid South Africa.

    The photo exhibition titled ‘Life and Times of Nelson Mandela’ was curated by one of NIIA’s Deputy Directors, Mrs Pamela Mamah. Over 60 exhibits of photographs and newspaper cuttings were on display. Consul-General of South African Consulate office, Lagos, Mr. Darkey Africa, declared the exhibition open, and spoke on the period of Mandela’s struggle, his incarceration, his release from the prisonand his ascendancy to the Presidency of South Africa. Similarly, two short films were screened to the admiration of the audience. They were Nelson Mandela’s Life Story and Nelson Mandela: Carrying on His Legacy.

    Former Ambassador of Nigeria to Ethiopia, Olusegun Akinsanya was chair of the event, which featured four presentations ‘International Terrorism and Maintenance of Global Peace by Prof Charles Dokubo,’ ‘Nelson Mandela as a ‘Great Personality of Peace’: Lessons in Leadership for Global Peace and Security’ by Mr. Sunday Olubejide, ‘Awareness and Prevention of HIV/ AIDS: The Role of International Personalities’ by Dr. Chinwe Nwanna and ‘Students and Maintenance of International Peace and Security’ by students each from Leads University, Ibadan, Lagos State University and University of Lagos.

    Prof. Dokubo of NIIA advocated for a stronger cooperation between the international community, especially the United States, and the African Union (AU) to hone a national or bilateral counter-terrorism strategy that offers comprehensive solution to tackle contemporary terrorism.

    Mr. Olubejide noted that Mandela was supposed to be released in 1985, but he refused because the terms and conditions of freedom was to cage his liberation struggle and never to return to African National Congress (ANC).

    A statement to that effect through his daughter, Zindi said, “What freedom am I being offered while the organization of the people remained banned? Only free men can negotiate. A prisoner can never enter into contracts”.





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