The University of Pretoria's Edoardo Villa Museum is presenting an exhibition honouring the Rivonia trialists in commemoration of Mandela Day this year. The exhibition opened on 18 July – the birthday of South Africa's first democratically elected president, the late Nelson Mandela – and will be on public display until the end of the month.
The Edoardo Villa Museum is located in the Old Merensky Library, on the University's Hatfield Campus.
Artist Marie Vermeulen-Breedt has painted twelve portraits of the trialists, including Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, Ahmed Kathrada, Raymond Mhlaba, Walter Sisulu and Dennis Goldberg. The portraits are large – to show the iconic status of the trialists – and painted in sepia, symbolising their shared purpose and one-ness.
'The trialists made a historic contribution that led to the political emancipation of South Africans and paved the way for the first democratic government in South Africa. By commemorating their sacrifice, we are reminded of the democratic ideals that underpin our society, and Mandela Day is a fitting time for this reflection,' said curator Daniel Mosako.
'I hope that the value of working towards a common elevated purpose, an element that these heroes embody, will inspire the leaders of today,' said Vermeulen-Breedt.