Disclaimer: The ideas presented in each post reflect the opinions of the writer alone, not those of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, nor of the European Research Council.

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Celebrity and Solidarity in the Struggle against Apartheid

May 10, 2017

At the beginning of May, the project held a special event at the Centre for Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv in conjunction with an exhibition by the South African-born artist Candice Breitz. Entitled “Love Story”, the exhibition solicits viewers’ empathy for human tragedies that they would otherwise most likely avoid, through having them narrated by two known celebrities: Alec Baldwin and Julianne Moore. Louise Bethlehem has argued in relation to the research agendas of the project that culture – both highbrow and popular – was central to the anti-apartheid struggle. Thus it was a good opportunity for us to think about the

role of celebrity in anti-apartheid protest, in relation to the legacy of the struggle. Tal Zalmanovich argued that from the early days of the apartheid regime, individuals such as the Anglican monk Trevor Huddleston knowingly mobilized their fame and public persona to contest the state and call for the end of apartheid. Yair Hashachar described how Miriam Makeba’s fusion of a brilliant musical career and a life-long commitment to political activism consolidate in her portrayal as an icon of pan-African solidarity. Tiferet Bassel surveyed how photographer George Hallett produced iconic images of Nelson Mandela that reflected and served the complex needs of a post-apartheid nation.



Our thanks to Sergio Edelsztein and Chen Tamir of the CCA for filming this event. The recording, in Hebrew, will be posted separately.

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