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Thursday, September 18, 2014


(One of the charming works on show)

Internationally-respected photographer, Clint Strydom, has collaborated with the children of Thanda After-school to create a collection of contemporary photographs and messages from the children to global icon, the late Nelson Mandela to be launched at the Witness Hilton Arts Festival 2014.

Embedded into the glorious mix of activities at KZN’s foremost and respected arts festivals, the annual Witness Hilton Arts Festival is a series of visual arts exhibitions and lectures to take place on the beautiful grounds of the Hilton College.

The festival organizers are delighted that Clint Strydom will be launching his Messages for Mandela at the festival this year. Strydom’s works have been exhibited internationally and he is most known for telling the ‘forgotten’ stories from Africa’s rural communities.

Thanda After-school is a non-profit organisation that provides support, education, and agriculture training to vulnerable children in rural communities on the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal, through after-school programmes.

This collection will assist to raise much-needed revenue and exposure for Thanda. Clint lives on the South Coast and has a longstanding relationship with Thanda and has generated substantial funds for this respected NGO via the sale of his artworks in annual fundraisers in New York and London.

Messages for Mandela tells a story from the heart. From the smallest children to the coolest teenagers, one thing is for sure amongst the children at Thanda After-School: Mandela is their hero.

“In the rolling hills of rural Umtwalume, where children run with wire toys along the dirt roads, they call him “Tata Mandela”, referring to him as their own father,” explains Strydom. “We asked them to write messages for Mandela, and heartfelt appreciation and love spilled onto crumpled pieces of paper. With their short-stubbed pencils, they told of their understanding of the sacrifices he made, of their deep gratitude for freedom, and genuine concern for his health. They told the story of a man who will never be lost, and they showed a story of hope for the future.”

Strydom brought these letters to life through photographs of the children themselves. Their smiles portray a new Africa – a hopeful Africa – where children have pride in themselves and goals for the future. It is the Africa Thanda works to create and funds from these photos will benefit Thanda’s work with children in rural South Africa.

The full festival programme can be found on, or like the Facebook page ~ Witness Hilton Arts Festival or follow the festival on Twitter ~ @HiltonFest. All enquiries on 033 383 0126 /7 or