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Nelson Mandela Day

22 July 2010 by Sam

2 women at a stall with International Slavery Museum publicity

Image courtesy of Berkeley White Photography.

Rebecca Watkin has sent this account of how she helped support a very good cause at the weekend:


“Hello. As a brief introduction my name is Rebecca Watkin and I am curator of transatlantic slavery at the International Slavery Museum. To mark Nelson Mandela Day on 18th July 2010, myself and Jessica Moody, research assistant from our Development Office, travelled down to the British Museum to represent the International Slavery Museum.

As Nelson Mandela is one of the museum’s Black achievers we were passionate about commemorating the 67 years that Mandela has been involved with human rights work. Visitors were invited to pledge 67 minutes of their time to charitable causes to mark this.

The British Museum forecourt was bustling with visitors on what was a vibrant, sunny day. It was a great opportunity to promote forthcoming museum events such as the Slavery Remembrance Day festival from 20th-23rd August and the FIRHM (Federation of International Human Rights Museums) Conference being held at the International Slavery Museum on 15th and 16th September 2010.

As curator it was very interesting to talk to the visitors who had been to the International Slavery Museum and hear their feedback which was very positive. It was also a great opportunity to encourage new visitors to the museum. We were informed that 30,000 visitors attended Nelson Mandela Day and we were the only museum from outside London to be represented.

The BBC World Service were filming and conducting interviews about how people are going to take individual steps to combat climate change. Jessica pledged she would give up tea (but later admitted she couldn’t). I pledged to turn more lights off when not in use. Both being keen drivers, we perhaps could pledge to use public transport more and save on petrol emissions.

The day was celebrated through South African music, dance, amazing food and storytelling. Special thanks goes to the kind man from the South African tourism stall who rescued our museum pop–up banner from the persistent breeze on the forecourt and Gabriella, the kind little girl who offered to help pack our stall away as part of her 67 minutes of her time. Thank you!”

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