Mandela27 | BELvue
Temporary exhibition


the fight against apartheid from behind bars

The exhibition immerses you in Nelson Mandela’s life during his 27-year incarceration. The dimensions of the exhibition are exactly the same as those of Mandela’s cell on Robben Island. Visitors can discover how apartheid rose from oppression, see what life was like in the political prison on Robben Island, and learn about the rise of the anti-apartheid movement and the democratic process in South Africa.

The Mandela27 exhibition consists of three interactive concepts:

  • The free exhibition
  • A “serious games” component through which young people follow an interactive, digital graphic novel to gain an impression of the lives and activities of political prisoners on Robben Island. This graphic novel can be viewed at the exhibition and is also available online at
  • The development of an interactive cultural map. In order to help young people relate to the milestones in the history of our democracy, 100 cultural highlights which have brought about political change have been mapped out. For example, there are the festivities after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Freedom Concerts held round the world, and the sense of euphoria after Mandela’s release. This map can be viewed at the exhibition and is also available online at

Mandela27 is a two-year cultural initiative of the European Union and South Africa. This exchange project aims to introduce everyone to the political and cultural developments that have made both regions into what they are today. In this context, the primary focus is on the fight against apartheid and the role played by Nelson Mandela.

Nobel Prize winner Nelson Mandela spent his entire life fighting for equality. After 27 years of imprisonment he became a paragon of courage and endurance, and his fight against South Africa’s apartheid regime turned him into a true hero. It is now more important than ever that young people know who Mandela is and what he has meant to the democracy that now seems so obvious. The Mandela27 project wishes to help by contributing in a way that is visually attractive to young people and easy for them to understand.


  • From 9 january through 13 march 2014 at BELvue museum
  • Free entrance
  • In English (translation in Dutch and French available)
  • Length of visit: 30 minutes
  • Without reservation for individuals
  • Groups and schools need to make a reservation through the calendar, maximum 40 people.

This free exhibition is a perfect complement to your other activities or visit to the BELvue museum. It's a small exhibition (the size of Mandela's cell on Robben Island), so it is better to combine it with another activity.

We recommend to teachers who plan to visit the exhibition with a class to prepare the visit using the teachers notes.