Nelson Mandela Centenary Exhibition comes to Wales Millennium Centre alongside Black History Month celebrations



Marking 100 years since the iconic leader’s birth, the Nelson Mandela Centenary Exhibition joins a programme of Black History Month events celebrating Black history, arts and culture.

The Nelson Mandela Centenary Exhibition opens at Wales Millennium Centre on 5th October during Black History Month, the nationwide celebration of Black history, arts and culture.

The major free exhibition explores six themes of the iconic leader’s life – Character, Comrade, Leader, Prisoner, Negotiator and Statesman – tracing his Long Walk to Freedom through a series of dramatic visual panels, films, artefacts and a Children’s Trail. It is jointly presented by the Apartheid Museum in South Africa, Anti-Apartheid Movement Archives and Southbank Centre, marking the centenary of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela’s birth (1918 – 2013).

The Nelson Mandela Centenary Exhibition opened at London’s Southbank Centre in July, attended by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, after various successful iterations of the exhibition around the world. The exhibition comes to Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff for its second-ever UK outing from 5 October until 18 November.

Items in the exhibition include one of the pick axes which Mandela and his colleagues used in the lime quarry on Robben Island, and a letter of thanks from Mandela to the British public, written on the 16 April 1990, the day he attended the Nelson Mandela: An International Tribute for a Free South Africa concert at Wembley Stadium.

Former Secretary of State for Wales and anti-apartheid leader, Lord Peter Hain, who is author of Mandela: His Essential Life and Chair of the London Mandela Centenary Committee said:

“I’m delighted that the magnificent Mandela Centenary Exhibition is coming to Wales’ national arts centre – Wales Millennium Centre – this autumn.  It has drawn huge crowds at the Southbank Centre in London – from all walks of life and of all ages. It is a ‘must-see’ which depicts the anti-apartheid struggle and Mandela’s vision of non-racial rainbow democracy based upon justice, equality and human rights. I hope that many people from across Wales get the opportunity to see this important free exhibition while it is in Cardiff”.


The exhibition hosted by Wales Millennium Centre will also feature artefacts from prominent Cardiff activist and founder of the Wales Anti-Apartheid Movement, Hanef Bhamjee. Mr Bhamjee, who met and was inspired by Nelson Mandela as a 10-year-old living in South Africa, later moved to the UK and set up the Anti-Apartheid Movement in Wales, which went on to become one of the largest and most active hubs of campaigners in the world.

Nelson Mandela commented during his 1998 visit to Cardiff:

“The Wales Anti-Apartheid Movement spoke for a people who cared for our freedom as their own.”


More Nelson Mandela events and Black History Month celebrations at the Centre

In addition to the Nelson Mandela Centenary Exhibition (5 October – 18 November, 10am daily, free) there will be a programme of supporting activities and Black History Month events at Wales Millennium Centre, which people can plan their visit around.

Schools Trail (5 October – 18 November, free)

Students, school pupils and families will be able to learn about the historical context of apartheid and Mandela’s life-long struggle against racism and violent oppression through the interactive youth trail, associated with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. A free bilingual handout will be available at Wales Millennium Centre.

Black History Month in Ffresh (6, 13 & 20 October, 8pm, £15 per event)
A series of Saturday evening events presented by Race Council Cymru and Wales Millennium Centre around the themes of The Windrush Generation (6 Oct), African Dance and Storytelling (13 Oct) and Youth Icons (20 Oct).

Young Icons of Black Wales (20 October, 11am – 6pm, free)

Race Council Cymru’s Black History Month Wales Youth Forum present an extravaganza celebrating and showcasing the young talent of Black Wales. The full day of performances will be compered by Christopher Nation, co-ordinator of Black History Youth Forum, and musician Miss Ify Iwobi.

Making a Stand – Panel Discussion

Hosted by Wales Millennium Centre and Stand up to Racism Wales, Joe Redmond has invited key members of the community to discuss freedom of speech in society today, reflecting on Nelson Mandela’s life, his work, and his commitment to the anti-apartheid movement.

Nelson Mandela: Songs & Stories (9 November, 9pm, £15)

Joined by local musicians and spoken word writers, Keith Murrell presents a night of songs and stories inspired by the life of Nelson Mandela.

For more information on each of the events at Wales Millennium Centre visit or call 029 2063 6464

For the full programme of Black History Month Wales events visit