The Spirit of Africa in Serbia: Tito in Africa- Picturing Solidarity Exhibition

On 27th of June 2017 an exhibition titled Tito in Africa – Picturing Solidarity was opened in the Museum of Yugoslavia in Belgrade, Serbia. This exhibition is running until 3 September 2017 and is a result of collaboration between a team of researchers on the project Socialism Goes Global of the University of Exeter and the Museum of Yugoslavia. The exhibition relies primarily on the collections of the Museum of Yugoslavia, which include photos and negatives created by the photographer of the Cabinet of Yugoslavia from 1947-1980.

The exhibition addresses relations between African countries and Yugoslavia through over 130 photos, recorded during 1960s and 1970s, on the trips of Josip Broz Tito and his wife Jovanka Broz to African countries. These photos and other materials depict meetings with important historical figures, including Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and the first Prime Minister and President of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah. The exhibition includes gifts that Tito and Jovanka Broz received, abstracts from African newspaper reports on these visits, as well as documents and notes explaining the time context. Additionally, information on the decolonization of African Countries, Tito’s travels and the development of bilateral relations between Yugoslavia and African Countries, have been transferred into 3D.

Josip Broz Tito, was the president of the Republic of Yugoslavia and one of the co-founders of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), a group of countries that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. As of 2017, the Non-Aligned Movement has over 122 members. The countries of the non-aligned movement are nearly two-thirds of the United Nations members and 55% of the worlds population.  The Havana Declaration of 1979 set out that the purpose of the NAM is to help countries maintain their national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security  in their struggle against imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, and all forms of foreign aggression, occupation, domination, interference or hegemony as well as against great power and bloc politics. In the context of the Cold War, the goal was for countries of the developing world to abstain from allying with key superpowers (the U.S.A and the U.S.S.R.) and  instead join in support of national self-determination against all forms of colonialism and imperialism. Due to his role in the NAM, Tito had a friendly and strong relations with African countries and was well respected among African leaders.

In attempting to resist the influence of super powers and develop on their own, these states gained independence. However, if we are looking from a wider perspective most NAM countries are not able to resist external influence. NAM countries do not need to be isolated from the rest of the world. They do however need to keep fighting for their sovereign right to choose how to develop.

This ongoing exhibition indicates the potential of the heritage to contribute to the recognition, reaffirmation and redefinition of social values to dispel prejudices such as racism. Can we see the presence of racism in contemporary society of today? Yes, we can, unfortunately. Although we know all consequences that racism left during 20th century, racism still exists.  It is important to remember and to implement the values such as solidarity and anti-racism that we have forgotten.

 

More about the exhibition and the Museum of Yugoslavia on: http://www.mij.rs/ and https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=muzej%20istorije%20jugoslavije

Pictures from the exhibition available on: http://mondo.rs/a1020122/Foto/Info/Titi-u-Africi-izlozba-u-Muzeju-25.-maj.html and http://www.mij.rs/


Featured image | Josip Broz Tito and Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia | wikimedia commons

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Best of Africa.

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