Museums and Memory 2: Liverpool 8 Against Apartheid at the Museum of Liverpool

In the second of our posts this week highlighting items on display in Liverpool’s museums which connect with themes we’ve been exploring in Whose History?, today we visit an exhibit in the Museum of Liverpool’s People’s Republic gallery.

Liverpool 8 Against Apartheid is a community display, created in partnership with the Mandela8 group as part of the Museum’s Our City, Our Stories programme. It reveals, through an array of objects, photographs, and campaign memorabilia, how Liverpool’s Black community dedicated itself to the anti-apartheid movement and the Free Nelson Mandela! campaign in the 1980s.

Celebrating the activism and creativity of Liverpool 8, the exhibit highlights Nelson Mandela’s ongoing importance as a role model for the community. It records the many years of demonstrations, boycotts, and community events which protested against the brutal apartheid regime in South Africa, and through which Liverpool 8 lent its strong voice to the calls for Mandela’s release from prison.

There is a special connection for Whose History?, because a number of the items on display – including this poster for the Mandela Freedom Festival in Granby Fields in July 1988 – have been lent by Joe Farrag, the inspiration for our film ‘Hey Joe’.

Poster for the Mandela Freedom Festival! held in Granby Fields, Liverpool 8, July 1988, lent by Joe Farrag for display in the Museum of Liverpool’s Liverpool 8 Against Apartheid.

Liverpool 8 Against Apartheid, which runs until 2024, is a brilliant exhibition which captures a local history of a global struggle. And it offers, very movingly, a view from Liverpool of Nelson Mandela’s enduring courage and example, and his generous, undying power to cultivate hope.


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