Andy Higginbottom critiques the British Council’s Mandela exhibition

An article in today’s The Conversation critiques the “Mandela and Me” exhibition at the British Council in London as corporate whitewashing for its principal sponsor, Anglo American. The article is by Andy Higginbottom an Associate Professor of International Politics, Human Rights and Social Justice at Kingston University in London. Today Andy is involved in the Marikana Solidarity Collective. In the 1980s, he was a leading member of the City of London Anti-Apartheid Group.

Anglo American, a major player in mining globally, was the largest corporation in South African during apartheid. As Andy Higginbottom argues,

This corporate connection influences the narrative that is spun at the exhibition. For example, it completely ignores Anglo’s own role as a founder and principal beneficiary of both British colonial rule and later the apartheid regime.

This erasure is all the more stark because the exhibition takes place at the British Council’s London headquarters, just off Trafalgar Square – the site of so many anti-apartheid demonstrations, including the Non-Stop Picket for Nelson Mandela from 1986 to 1990.

About Gavin Brown

Professor of Political Geography and Sexualities University of Leicester
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