Starting conversations with iMadiba

By: CN&CO

The iMadiba project is a concept that uses the replicated space of Nelson Mandela’s Robben Island prison cell to provide a physical space for people to have open and honest conversations.

It was conceptualised and created by Stellenbosch-based photographer and artist, Erhardt Thiel. Thiel’s dream is to erect 100 installations of the micro museums in Madiba’s centenary year, which ends on 17 July 2019.

The iMadiba micro museums are built in partnership with and in support of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. The project forms a key part of the foundation’s work in honouring Madiba and creating conversations among South Africans. In 2018, there have been 20 micro museum sites build in a range of locations from schools and universities to museums and sculpture parks. The Joburg headquarters of Econorisk, a group of leading independent risk and short-term insurance advisors, is among the 18 sites completed in 2018, adding to the diversity of the project.

“In the insurance industry there are numerous events through the year, each of which provides an opportunity for us to engage and start a conversation,” says Andrew Lilley, CEO at Econorisk. “While events such as awards evenings, product launches and educational summits are important, we should take a few lessons out of the iMadiba book: Make time to engage with people around you at events – and in general. Break down walls, start conversion and embrace the diversity that the insurance industry – and South African society in general – offers.”

Thiel describes the sculpture as a “conversation station”.

“The inspiration for the design came about as a desire to see the walls broken down to create a safe space for brutally honest conversation,” he says. “A central part to the iMadiba concept was to create a project that could get people to associate themselves actively with the value systems of South Africa’s former president.

“In naming the sites or discussing them, we must use the words “I” and “Madiba”, which opens our minds to finding ways in which we can emulate his values.”

Says Lilley,“There are plenty of lessons that we can learn from the iMadiba project and the value systems of South Africa’s former president. Starting a conversation is just the beginning.

“Visitors to the Econorisk offices are invited to take a moment to visit our iMadiba installation and embrace the space.”

And if you are ever in the vicinity of any of the micro museum sites, see if you can visit them and start a conversation.

iMadiba sites:

Copy #1: Stellenbosch University Museum (Artist copy)
Copy #2: Paul Roos Gymnasium (Artist copy)
Copy #3: Marais Park, Stellenbosch (Artist copy)
Copy #4: AfrikaBurn (Artist copy)
Copy #5: Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, Johannesburg
Copy #6: Ahmed Kathrada gravesite
Copy #7: Robben Island Museum (indoor copy)
Copy #8: Nelson Mandela Museum, Mthatha
Copy #9: Nelson Mandela Museum, Qunu
Copy #10: Nelson Mandela Gateway to the Robben Island Museum, Waterfront, Cape Town
Copy #11: St Stithians College, Sandton
Copy #12: Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Sandton
Copy #13: Iziko Museums of South Africa
Copy #14: Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton
Copy #15: Nelson Mandela Centenary Gala Dinner
Copy: #16: Nirox Sculpture Park
Copy #17: Constitution Hill, Johannesburg
Copy #18: Econorisk risk and short-term insurance advisors, Sandton

Copy #19: Laerskool Jan van Riebeeck

Copy #20: Columba Leadership Academy

You can also join the iMadiba conversation on social media:

Facebook: iMadiba Project

Twitter: @iMadibaProject

Instagram: @iMadibaProject