ZAM Reporter

Australia – South Africa | Memories of the Struggle

Images courtesy of Anton Siebrits and André Thijssen.

With marches and rallies, sports boycotts and sanctions many Australians once participated in the international solidarity movement against Apartheid. An exhibition in Cape Town showcases a history more relevant than ever.

There was excitement and huge support. There were challenges and failures. One needed a long breath before succeeding and winning the hearts and minds of many people. As in many countries in the Western world, racism is deeply rooted in Australian society. But when activists rose in solidarity with the oppressed black majority of South Africans things changed.

There were no easy victories. 

Images courtesy of Anton Siebrits and André Thijssen.

But, eventually, Australians took a more active stand and rugby exchanges were blocked. Trade unions, churches, women’s groups, so many people raised their voices and joined campaigns. These experiences might teach us a thing or two for todays’ fights for equality and self-determination.

Of course, an exhibition so gracefully presenting the images, the banners, the slogans and people naturally invites to participate in a sentimental journey. But the significance of it all lies in its subtle message for today: stand up, never accept grim realities, we have the power to define a just future.

Images courtesy of Anton Siebrits and André Thijssen.

Thank you so much curator Angus Leendertz and your assistants James Mohr and Tracy Dunn for a job well done.

Angus Leendertz: “Bringing this exhibition home means so much to me and many others who were part of the struggle for democracy in our country. It is so important to remember this terrible part of our history and holding the exhibition in this historical site of trauma, makes the story all the more powerful.”

If you are in Cape Town check out the exhibition at the Castle of Good Hope. More information here.