LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Photographs commissioned by the Nelson Mandela Foundation along with a re-creation of the former South African president’s prison cell and memorabilia from former President Bill Clinton highlight a temporary exhibit at Clinton’s library in Little Rock.
Clinton opened the exhibit while visiting Little Rock to mark the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of the city’s Central High School. He called “Mandela: The Journey to Ubuntu” a must-see.
“Look at the art. Look at Mandela’s life. Look at all the people who are trying to live by that in Africa today, especially young people, and I think you will leave these exhibits more hopeful than you entered them,” Clinton said.
Matthew Willman photographed Mandela in his final years and his work is central to the collection presented by the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati. Visitors can enter a replica of the 8-foot-by-7-foot prison cell where Mandela was held for 18 of the 27 years he was held as a political prisoner in a country he later ran. A padded mat lay on the floor; the cell door closes.
“We all generally know he was a great man who was confined for 27 years and came out and instead of being hateful he invited his jailers to his inauguration,” Clinton said. “He lived by the spirit of what is in the Zulu language called ‘Ubuntu.’ It means in English ‘I am because you are.’ We like to think we exist separate from one another but we don’t.”