Yes, the Dutch are back as Think!Fest sponsors. And this year to mark the 20th year of our democracy and the role the Dutch Anti-Apartheid Movement played, they are mounting the exhibition Signs of Solidarity in the Eden Grove complex.
From images of the demonstrations that took place at the South African Embassy in The Hague in 1963 to the Culture in Another South Africa conference in Amsterdam in 1987 to a special commemorative postage stamp with an image of Nelson issued printed in 2003 to the handover of the anti-apartheid archives to South Africa in 2013, Signs of Solidary is a moving testimony of Dutch support for South Africans in their fight against apartheid.
In 1948 the ruling Nationalist Party in South Africa declared apartheid as the legislated policy for the future of the country. In The Netherlands the attitude towards South Africa changed, first slowly, then intensifying. As the South African regime became more brutal, more and more Dutch felt the need to protest and to act against the South African government and to express their solidarity with the oppressed majority. Over the years this solidarity gained momentum and the movement unified people from different backgrounds. Defeating apartheid became a national objective in The Netherlands in the late 80s. Nelson Mandela’s visit to The Netherlands in 1990 shortly after his release was an acknowledgement of the Dutch position against apartheid.
As a companion lecture to this exhibition journalist and writer Bart Luirink, who was a board member of the Dutch Anti-Apartheid Movement from 1983 until 1994, will talk about “how South Africans liberated some Dutch”. Luirink worked in Johannesburg between 1993 and 2011 as a correspondent for Dutch newspapers, radio and television. Today he is a commentator on African affairs and editor-in-chief of ZAM, an Amsterdam-based platform of investigative journalists, photographers and artists from Africa and beyond. Sunday 6 July at 12:00 in Eden Grove Blue.
Another event brought to Think!Fest by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is the talk by gaming wizard Marcus Vlaar who designs games that meet complex learning and communication goals. Vlaar will show how games are changing the way we learn, work and stay healthy. Vlaar is the Creative Director at Ranj Serious Games. Tuesday 8 Juy at 14:00 in Eden Grove Blue.