On 16 July, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, participated in a series of events on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Rivonia Trial, which led to the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela and other African National Congress leaders and provided a platform for freedom fighters to continue to push their struggle against apartheid.
“This trial was a turning point in the fight for freedom against the apartheid system in South Africa – it was a defining moment in the global struggle for human rights and dignity.” said the Director-General.
The event, organized by the Permanent Delegation of the Republic of South Africa to UNESCO on the occasion of Mandela International Day, included an exhibition as well as a video and a public lecture with 3 of the surviving Rivonia Trialists.
Professor Denis Goldberg, former Rivonia Trialist, gave a public lecture on South Africa’s quest for democracy, in the presence of the Minister of Justice of South Africa Jeffrey Radebe, the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, Ebrahim Ebrahim, the Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of South Africa to UNESCO, Dolana Msimang.
“The Rivonia trial has shown the power of democracy to reconcile unity and diversity, and unite the country in its ethnic and cultural diversity. We pay tribute to the personal sacrifice of all the anti-apartheid activists: they gave us the freedom we enjoy today – and this is the meaning of this exhibition.” stated Minister Ebrahim.
The exhibition “A long journey from adversity to diversity” runs at UNESCO until 28 July.