On Sunday 6 February, the third edition of the ZAM Nelson Mandela Lecture took place at the International Theatre Amsterdam. The lecture, which is part of our #ImagineMandela-Live! programme, was delivered by acclaimed Kenyan author and opinion maker Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor: The Future is a Story we Tell Ourselves. Notes for a Prelude.
While the 2020 lecture by Nigerian writer Elnathan John happened only days before the Netherlands went into lockdown, the latest edition came to life when the country – and out theatres – slowly opened up with a limited number of people in the hall, and many online.
In her opening remarks, Mayor Femke Halsema characterised the event as an important tradition. It is 'an annual manifestation of involved artists who feel connected to the legacy of Nelson Mandela, to the future of the African continent and to people with African roots wherever they live', according to the Mayor. The programme 'fits Amsterdam so well because it helps us become what we want to be: a window on the world'.
In her lecture, keynote speaker Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor offered us a lot to digest. How to imagine a world post atrocities, inequality, hate, oppression? How to build such a world while acknowledging painfull truths and legacies? These were questions that also inspired a rich cultural programme with the mayor Femke Halsema, spoken word artist Babs Gons, Adriaan van Dis, band/singer Midist/Wasim & dancer Ahmad Joudeh, actors Uriah Havertong, Raymi Sambo and Ayrton Kirchner. The event also paid homage to the recently deceased former mayor and anti-apartheid activist Ed van Thijn and archbishop Desmond Tutu.
You can watch the programme here.