FACE FORWARD - stories for change

It is ten years since Nelson Mandela’s passing in 2013. Mandela dedicated his life to the fight for freedom, self-determination and equality. His urgent ideals inspire FACE FORWARD - stories for change, a festival of talks, meet & greets, music, art, dance and films, as well as the fourth edition of the ZAM Nelson Mandela Lecture, which this year will be presented by three inspiring thinkers; Panashe Chigumadzi (Zimbabwe), Marcus Tebogo Desando (South Africa) and Jerry Afriyie (Netherlands/Ghana). 

ZAM NELSON MANDELA LECTURE | Speakers Panashe Chigumadzi, Marcus Desando and Jerry Afriyie. Official Opening Touria Meliani, Amsterdam Alderman Arts & Culture Performing artists Lloyds Company & Soweto Skeleton Dancers, Ntjam Rosie and Sites of Memory.

TALKS | Ode aan Winnie. A Portrait of Love & Revolution with Patricia Kaersenhout, Junior Mthombeni and Ernestine Comvalius | Apartheid South Africa. Ernest Cole’s House of Bondage with Joumana El Zein Khoury, Farren van Wyk, Els Barents and host Ikenna Azuike | Looking for Mandela in Iran with Marja Vuijsje, Farhad Golyardi, Mardjan Seighali, Zhinia Noorian and host Bahram Sadeghi | Cry Freedom. Trends of Repression and Resistance in 5 African Countries with Ngina Kirori, Theophilus Abbah, Elizabeth BanyiTabi, Emmanuel Mutaizibwa and host Bram Vermeulen | Afrovibes presents: Art and the Sense of Belonging with Marjorie Boston, Pim Deul, Jay Pather, Kimberley Agyarko, Quinsy Gario, Mariseya and hosted by Ms. Aba

ART INSTALLATION Harmony of Love by Marian Genet

FILM PROGRAMME  A New Country | The State vs. Mandela & The Others, and shorts all day.

BOOKS Athenaeum Zuidoost

About the speakers of the ZAM Nelson Mandela Lecture

Panashe Chigumadzi is an award-winning writer, scholar, and cultural historian. She’s a columnist for The New York Times and a doctoral candidate at Harvard University. Chigumadzi was also the founding editor of Vanguard Magazine, a platform for black women coming of age in post-apartheid South Africa, as well as the first curator of the inaugural edition of the Abantu Book Festival.

Marcus Tebogo Desando is the newly appointed director of the Prince Claus Fund. As a former opera singer, director and conductor he was associated with companies in South Africa and internationally, such as Really Useful Artists and New York Harlem Productions. He is also the former CEO of the Arts & Culture Trust in Johannesburg.

Jerry Afriyie (also known as Kno’Ledge Cesare) is a poet and human rights activist campaigning against racism and discrimination. Afriyie is co-founder of Nederland Wordt Beter and Soul Rebel Movement, co-initiator of Kick Out Zwarte Piet and a frequently invited guest lecturer on the history of slavery and its impact on the present.

This event has been made possible with the financial support of Stichting Democratie & Media, Gemeente Amsterdam, Postcode Loterij Nederland, Studio Marlene Dumas and the Van Ewyck Foundation.

Buy your ticket here

 See below our full festival programme with talks, meetings, film, performances and the ZAM Nelson Mandela Lecture and pick your route for February 5th: 

Or just download a pdf programme here and take it with you!  

Date February 5, 2023 | Time 12:30 pm - 6:00 pm | Venue ITA (Internationaal Theater Amsterdam - Leidseplein - Amsterdam)


12:30 – 13:30 | Apartheid South Africa. Ernest Cole’s House of Bondage

World Press Photo Director Joumana El Zein Koury, former Director of Huis Marseille Els Barents and Dutch/South African photographer Farren van Wyk in conversation with Ikenna Azuike about the recently republished international bestseller, the first in-depth record of apartheid atrocities. Participants will also discuss the importance of documentary photography for today’s desire for justice and peace.

More info here.

14:15 – 15:15 | Op Zoek Naar Mandela in Iran

Bahram Sadeghi in gesprek met schrijver Marja Vuijsje, auteur van het net verschenen Volgend jaar in Teheran, voorzitter van het Humanistisch Verbond Mardjan Seighali, publicist Farhad Golyardi en journalist en voormalig anti-apartheidsactivist Bart Luirink en Zhinia Noorian. Heeft de strijd voor vrijheid in Iran een Mandela nodig? Of is die er misschien al?

Meer informatie hier.

17:00 – 17:30 | Meet the Speakers

Q&A facilitated by Ikenna Azuike with the speakers of this year's ZAM Nelson Mandela Lecture Panashe Chigumadzi, Marcus Desando and Jerry Afriyie.


12:45 – 13.30 | Cry Freedom. Trends of Repression and Resistance in 5 African Countries

Documentary maker and journalist Bram Vermeulen in conversation with Theophilus Abbah (Nigeria), Ngina Kirori (Kenya), Emmanuel Mutaizibwa (Uganda) & Elizabeth BanyiTabo (Cameroon).

A new generation of African investigative journalists is in the frontline of the struggle against repression and self-enrichment by African autocrats and their international allies. Fastly-growing protest movements and activists are targeted by repressive state machineries. What’s going on?

More info here.

14:00 – 15:00 | Ode aan Winnie. A Portrait of Love & Revolution.

Ode aan Winnie, patricia kaersenhout en Dear Winnie © Reyer Boxem

Ernestine Comvalius in gesprek met beeldend kunstenaar Patricia Kaersenhout en theatermaker, acteur en regisseur Junior Mthombeni. Over de rol van Winnie Madizikela Mandela in de strijd tegen apartheid en hoe Mthombeni’s succesvolle theaterproductie Dear Winnie de kunstenaar aan het denken zette. Het onlangs door Kaersenhout voltooide werk Ode aan Winnie, geschonken aan ZAM Magazine, is ook te bezichtigen!

Meer informatie hier.


13:30 – 14:45 | Afrovibes Presents: Art and the Sense of Belonging
Crossing Boundaries, Connecting People

Ms. Aba in conversation with Jay Pather, Marjorie Boston, Pim Deul. All three are closely involved with the very successful annual Afrovibes Festival. Actress Kimberley Agyarko, artist Quinsy Gario and Mariseya will contribute to the talk. How do artistic productions counter distracted perception of ‘Africa’. The screening of two videoshorts, made by South African artist Lhola Amir, are part of this programme. 

More information here

15:00 – 16:00 | Film. A New Country.

A documentary by Sifiso Khanyile (2020). 25 years after its birth as a democratic country, South Africa remains the most unequal society in the world. Reflecting on this period of liberation, disjointedness, and resistance are a wide spectrum of its everyday citizens. With Athol Williams, Beverley Ditsie, Lady Skollie, Zara Julius and others. An exclusive screening!

16:15 – 18:00 | Film. The State Against Mandela and the Others.

Feature film recollecting the 1963/1964 South African Rivonia Trial that sentenced Nelson Mandela and 9 co-accused to life-long prison sentences. An impressive mix of animation, interviews and archival footage. This film by Nicholas Chapeaux and Gill Porte marked the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth in 2018. An exclusive screening!

More informatin here.


All day | Grab a set of headphones and watch shorts!


All day | Harmony of Love, an installation by Marian Genet.

You are not just allowed, you have to(!) sit, lie or hang on the Harmony of Love by Marian Genet. Her colourful artwork invites you to meet, connect, reflect, and touch.Take off your shoes, take a seat & meet!


15:30 – 16:45 | The ZAM Nelson Mandela Lecture and Cultural Programme.

Ntjam Rosie

Opening: Alderman Touria Meliani, Amsterdam Alderman for Arts & Culture, Speakers: Panashe Chigumadzi (Zimbabwe), Marcus Desando (South Africa) and Jerry Afriyie (Netherlands/Ghana). Host: Ikenna Azuike. Performances by Ntjam Rosie, Soweto Skeleton Movers and Sites of Memory with Jennifer Tosch, Jomecia Oosterwolde, Houda Bibouda, Jörgen Gario & Jahcysha Boschman.

More info here.


All day | Mandela’s speech from the ITA balcony.

© Spaarnestad Photo

Only 5 months after his release from prison, Nelson Mandela was welcomed by 20.000 people at the Amsterdam Leidseplein. Mandela spoke from the balcony of the theatre. Listen to a live recording of his speech.


These Bones Will Rise Again by the ZAM Nelson Mandela Lecture speaker Panashe Chigumadzi and many more books will be available!

Shop inspiring books at FACE FORWARD - stories for change! Athenaeum Bookshop will be present in ITA during the festival with an exquisite selection of fantastic books. Of course, with books by the speakers and participants who will be happy to sign them for you.

Deepen your knowledge and expand your world!


ZAM will also bring nice things to have, things to hold. Lecture's booklets from previous years, books and ART for sale by Patricia Kaersenhout, Zanele Muholi, Sindiso Nyoni and more.
And of course the Mandela Landscape, by Anton Corbijn & Berend Strik.