Published on 

25 years of relations with South Africa celebrated with Mandela exhibition in Kilmainham Gaol

Trevor Manuel, Economic Envoy of the new South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, is in Dublin on Thursday, July 12th to celebrate twenty-five years of diplomatic relations between Ireland and South Africa. In addition to high level meetings, Manuel will attend the opening of an exhibition in Kilmainham Gaol marking both the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth and the Irish contribution to the struggle against apartheid.

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney, T.D. said:

‘The people of Ireland showed great solidarity with South Africa during the struggle against apartheid. It was only after the end of that regime that Ireland established diplomatic relations with South Africa, something which we mark this week with the visit of Trevor Manuel, President Ramaphosa’s economic envoy. President Ramaphosa has himself been a great friend of Ireland: we owe him a continuing debt of gratitude for his important contribution to our peace process.

I look forward to discussing with Mr Manuel how we can continue to deepen our economic and other links.

I am particularly pleased that my Department, working with the OPW and Kilmainham Gaol, is mounting an exhibition to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of our diplomatic relationship, and the centenary of the birth of a freeman of Dublin, Nelson Mandela. It is particularly fitting that the Exhibition will be mounted in a place of such historical resonance in our freedom story.’

President Michael D Higgins and Mr. Trevor Manuel, President Ramaphosa’s Economic Envoy and former confidant of Nelson Mandela and Kader Asmal, will launch the From Prisoner to President: Nelson Mandela Centenary Exhibition this evening, Thursday 12 July.

The Exhibition explores Mandela’s extraordinary life through five themes – Leader, Comrade, Negotiator, Prisoner and Statesman. Each theme is presented through evocative large scale images and text, supported by films, photographs and displays of original artefacts. This version of the Exhibition, which is based on that in the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, also highlights the strength and breadth of Ireland’s relationship with South Africa, from Ireland’s support for the anti-apartheid movement, through to the deep friendship which exists between Ireland & South Africa today.