Thursday, May 4, 2017

Promises and Lies: The ANC, Exile & The Project of Freedom.

The Visual Identities in Art and Design Research Centre (VIAD), University of Johannesburg, takes pleasure in inviting you to the opening of the landmark and timeous exhibition, Promises and Lies: The ANC, Exile & The Project of Freedom.
Laurie Sparham. Jacob Zuma at welcoming reception for
released ANC leaders. Tanzania 1990.


Reverend Osmers who lost
his hand after opening a
bomb parcel sent by an
apartheid death squad

The years 1989-1991 marked a world in transition, with revolutions in the Eastern Bloc, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and in South Africa, the dismantling of apartheid. Events critical to the latter transition – from white minority rule to multiracial democracy – included the unbanning of organisations like the African National Congress (ANC) and the Pan African Congress (PAC); the return of political exiles; the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners; and the initiation of political negotiations in the country. All photographs by Laurie Sparham©

Umkhontowe'Sizwe members in the library at the ANC
headquarters in Lusaka. 1989.
Chris Hani in Tanzania. 1990.©

The past three years have signaled in South Africa another kind of turning-point – a critical shift, charged by student-lead protests aimed at forms of institutionalised racism and the slow pace of transformation in universities; the increasing proliferation of service-delivery protests across the country; and in general, a growing disenchantment with the social imaginaries of ‘Rainbowism’ and the ‘New South Africa’. In addition to this, charges of corruption, mismanagement and state-capture have brought Government and the integrity of the ANC into disrepute.
Umkhontowe'Sizwe soldiers at the ANC's Lusaka 
headquarters in Zambia 1989.©
Commissioned by the ANC, taken by award-winning British photographer Laurie Sparham, and collated by curator and filmmaker Dr Siona O’Connell, the photographs in this exhibition chronicle the experience of ANC exiles living in Tanzania and Zambia from 1989-1990. Shelved for over twenty-five years, this important photographic archive speaks to the aspirations of the liberation struggle – and, in the interests of an as-of-yet unrealised freedom, poses difficult questions around history and its resonances in the present. 

ANC youth training. Zambia 

Featuring a probing documentary by O’Connell, titled Promises & Lies – Fault Lines in the ANC, the exhibition offers viewers a chance to consider the sacrifices of political exile and the promise of freedom that was its aspiration, in relation to a current landscape of political and economic crisis in which contemporary South Africans are personally and collectively complicit. This provocative new exhibition offers a necessary and timeous platform for creative encounters and critical dialogue around collective memory, accountability and the ongoing demand for active citizenry. 

Reg September, Joe Slovo and Jacob Zuma attend a funeral for a
slain ANC member. Tanzania 1990.

Join the conversation :  # P r o m i s e s A n d L i e s

FADA Gallery
Bunting Road Campus, FADA Building, University of Johannesburg

Opening hours: Tues-Fri 09h00-16h00, Sat 09h00-13h00
Closed Mondays and public holidays.

www.viad.co.za / https://www.facebook.com/viad.fada

For more information contact:
James Macdonald   
+27(0) 84 566 2121 / jmacdonald@uj.ac.za

Media & and Press:
Lindsay McDonald

+27(0) 76 101 0421 / lindsay@invictuscomm.com