Between 1978-1994, 28 Penton Street was a central hub for international opposition to South African apartheid and a nerve centre of anti-apartheid planning and activity. The London HQ of the African National Congress (banned by the South African apartheid government and led in exile by Oliver Tambo, whose family took refuge in London for thirty years), it acted as a base for many critical activities that underpinned the struggle and the transition to a new democratic South Africa. This culturally rich historic site embodies the solidarity between the people of Britain and international migrants who have sought refuge here. The building is marked as a site of significance for the historic contributions of global majority peoples with a Nubian Jak Community Trust and London Borough of Islington Green Plaque. More detail about the heritage of the site can be found here.
The Anti-Apartheid Legacy: Centre of Memory and Learning (CML)
Opening in 2024, The Anti-Apartheid Legacy: Centre of Memory and Learning (CML) will promote the legacy and values of the Southern African liberation struggle and the UK’s central role within this world-changing history, whilst supporting contemporary discourse around social (in)justice, inclusion and multi-racial collaboration for social transformation.
Through permanent exhibition and a rotation of content through temporary gallery spaces, a community learning garden, seminar and workshop spaces and a reading room, visitors will learn about, and from, the heritage of the anti-apartheid struggle. Alongside developing the CML, we are simultaneously creating an online offer to enable audiences to connect with the CML and its programming beyond Islington, London and even the UK.
The CML currently engages contemporary communities through arts, cultural and educational programming that includes pop up exhibitions, artist-led community engagement, schools workshops, artists commissions and a variety of heritage focused and contemporary facing talks.
“The Anti-Apartheid Legacy: Centre of Memory and Learning at Penton Street and its programming is designed to promote collaboration between peoples and encourage participation in the effecting of social transformation, equality and justice. The CML will strive to reduce inequality and promote inclusivity through empowering programming. Unlocking an impactful programme that channels the legacy of one of the most powerful social movements of the 20th century, the CML will foreground an empowering, under-represented Black-led history, redressing longstanding imbalances in the perceptions and experience of UK heritage. Solidarity, active citizenship, community, and cooperation are powerful forces for the continued transformation of our world into a more equal and fair society”. Professor Chris Mullard, Chair TLTU