Welcoming address by Cllr Vumile Lwana, Executive Mayor of Makana Municipality , on the occassion of the opening of Shared Legacies exhibition at Albany Museum on 21 May 2010.
Public Diplomacy Officer , Mr Mark Canning from the US Consulate,
Advocate Les Roberts , Chair of the Board of Trustees of Albany Museum,
Members of the Board of Trustees of Albany Museum,
Mr Ismail Mohammed , Director of the National Arts Festival,
Mr Bongani Mgijima , Manager of Albany Museum
Academics and students from Rhodes University,
Councillors and citizens of the Makana Municipality and beyond,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Program Director ,
On behalf of the community of Makana Municipality , I am delighted to welcome you at Albany Msueum on the occassion of the opneing of the Shared Legacies exhibition. This is indeed a very important achievement on the part of the museum. I have been made aware that this exhibition has been made possible as a result of a partnership between the Albany Museum , Mcgregor Museum , the United States Consulate and the National Arts Festival office.
I have also been equally advised that three days ago on 18 May 2010 the world has been celebrating International Museums day. It is quite befitting therefore that an exhibition of this nature should happen in this month when we are celebrating international Museums day.
The exhibition we are going to be opening today is entitled :Shared Legacies. It consists of photographs by Edward S. Curtis , a renowned North American photographer and a well known South African photographer , Alfred Duggan Cronin. These photographs demonstrate than we as South Africans have very much in common with our North American friends. In America they talk of a triple heritage made up of American , European and African origins. We too , in South Africa , we talk of a triple heritage derived from Europe , Africa and Asia.
Whereas some of us always think of msueums as places dedicated to old disconnected dusty objects or as institutions ran by absent minded academics , this exhibition we are about to unveil today reaffirm the notion that museums indeed can contribute to social harmony. Social harmony can only exist when we begin to realise that we as the people of the world we have so much in common than differences.
As President Neslon Mandela pointed out during his Nobel Prize lecture , and I quote:
" Thus we shall live , because we will have created a society which recognises that all people are equal , with each entitled to liefe , liberty , prosperity , human rights and good governance".
Museums , therefore , hel us to understand that our humanity depends on us working together to create a world at peace with itself. Again , I would like to applaud the US Consulate , the National Festival Office and the Albany Msueum for bringing this exhibition to our shores. The Makana Municipality is increasingly becoming the Cultural Capital of the continent.
In a few days time , our Municipality will again be welcoming multitudes of visitors and artists who will be gracing our annual National Arts Festival. I am told that thsi year , because of the 2010 FIFA World Cup which we as the continent are hosting for the first time ever , the festival is going to be much bigger and much more memorable than the previous festivals.
The Shared Legacies exhibition , in the words pf President Barack Obama , reminds us that and I quote:
"It took a bit of blood , sweat and tears to get us where we are today, but we have just begun. Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that our world we leave our children is just a little bit better that the one we inherit today."
With those few words , ladies and gentlemen , allow me to welcome you to Makana , a great place to be.
I Thank you.