Matthew Willman to Speak at Mandela: The Journey to Ubuntu Opening Reception

Press Release

Matthew Willman to Speak at Mandela: The Journey to Ubuntu Opening Reception


Will Jones
(513) 333-7558
(513) 288-4834

Jamie Glavic
(513) 333-7511
(513) 802-7355


CINCINNATI, OH (March 22, 2017) – South African documentary photographer Matthew Willman will speak at the opening reception of Mandela: The Journey to Ubuntu at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center this Friday, March 24, at 7:15 p.m. Willman was commissioned by the Nelson Mandela Foundation during the last 10 years of Nelson Mandela’s life.

“This is the first exhibition created since Mandela passed away, which makes us custodians of Mandela’s legacy,” says Willman. “Mandela is a bench mark for all of us to go further, reach higher, transcend divides, and open up dialogue. This exhibit reveals the story of an ordinary man who made personal choices that in the end changed the course of an entire nation’s future.”

Mandela: The Journey to Ubuntu, a world-premiere exhibition, commemorates the life and legacy of former South African President Nelson Mandela through photographs by Willman as he revisited many of the locations that had played an important role in South Africa’s route to racial equality and Mandela’s personal fight for freedom. Visitors will travel throughout South Africa with Mandela via Willman’s camera lens: Mvezo Village, Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Robben Island.

“I first met Matthew in 2014 when we awarded Nelson Mandela with the International Freedom Conductor Award posthumously,” says President Dr. Clarence G. Newsome. “The relationship between Matthew and our talented team here at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center has blossomed over the years and truly made this exhibit a one-of-a-kind experience. This young man has so much to offer and I know all who attend the opening will be inspired by his photographs, words and experiences.”

The Mandela: The Journey to Ubuntu opening reception begins at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 24, and offers timed tours until 7:00 p.m. Willman will speak at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase online for $25. Discounted tickets are available to students for $10. Seating is limited. Tickets are available for purchase online at

The Mandela: The Journey To Ubuntu presenting sponsors are John and Francie Pepper, Macy’s, and The John A. Schroth Family Charitable Trust, PNC Bank, Trustee. Supporting sponsors include ArtsWave and Cincinnati Bell. Community partners include Northern Kentucky University’s Public History Department and Gleason Builders.

Following the exhibition opening reception, Constella Festival of Music and Fine Arts, in conjunction with the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and MamLuft&Co., presents two new world-premiere contemporary dance performances at Luminous Dance at 8:00 p.m. in the Harriet Tubman Theater. Tickets are available for purchase online for $25Discounted tickets are available to students for $10. Seating is limited. Tickets are available online at



The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in August 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, more than 1.3 million people have visited its permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom. Two million people have utilized educational resources online at, working to connect the lessons of the Underground Railroad to inform and inspire today’s global and local fight for freedom. Partnerships include Historians Against Slavery, Polaris Project, Free the Slaves, US Department of State and International Justice Mission. In 2014, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center launched a new online resource in the fight against modern slavery,

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