Press Release : The United Nations in South Africa opens exhibition at Apartheid Museum, 20 October 2017

Johannesburg, South Africa: The United Nations in South Africa yesterday launched its exhibition, “The Role of the United Nations in the Struggle for Freedom in South Africa” at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. The exhibition, which was organized in partnership with the museum and Brand South Africa, showcases the UN’s contribution in the fight against apartheid.

The exhibition chronicles the history of the UN’s involvement in the South Africa’s political system which began in 1946 when India raised concern at the General Assembly about the treatment of people of Indian origin in South Africa. The timeline displayed at the exhibition details the series of meetings and outcomes of the UN Special Committee Against Apartheid formed in 1962 as well as the impact of various declarations and resolutions passed by the UN General Assembly and the Security Council.

During a period that spanned over several decades, the UN first imposed an arms embargo followed by economic sanctions as well as cultural and sports boycott of South Africa in an effort to force it to abandon its policy of apartheid. Footage at the exhibition shows late iconic South Africans such as former President Nelson Mandela, former African National Congress President Oliver Tambo and singer Mariam Makeba addressing the UN on the oppressive laws passed by apartheid South Africa. They all urged the global body to take a strong stance against the regime.

Speaking at the opening of the exhibit, the head of the UN in South Africa, Gana Fofang, shared his personal experiences with the participants about the time he was first introduced to exiled South African anti-apartheid activists while studying in the United States. Zaheer Laher, the Acting Chief Director of the United Nations Division within the South African Department of International Cooperation, expressed his government’s gratitude for the role played by the international community in ending apartheid. The Chief Marketing Manager of Brand South Africa, Linda Sangaret, and Emilia Potenza, the curator at the Apartheid Museum, also paid tribute to the UN for its role in the struggle for freedom in South Africa.

The exhibition runs until January 2018.

For further information, please contact: Zeenat Abdool, UN Information Centre in Pretoria, Tel. +27-82-778-8080,