The Value of Memory

DG Vusimuzi Mkhize, Ambassador-designate Claudio Perez Paladino and Sipho Mdanda, Curator at Freedom Park

27 October 2021

The Embassy of Argentina in South Africa, together with Freedom Park in Pretoria organized a Cultural Programme on Memory, Truth and Justice taking place from 27 to 29 October.

The Programme, includes film screenings, poetry reading, story-telling and a photographic exhibition that aims to shed light on the importance of Memory, Truth and Justice in Argentina, after the State terrorism the country suffered between 1976 and 1983.

Mr. Claudio Perez Paladino, Ambassador designate of Argentina to South Africa said at the opening of the Programme that besides sharing experiences and practices between the two countries, the Programme is also organized to support the candidacy of the ESMA Memory Site Museum – Former Clandestine Center of Detention, Torture and Extermination to be declared a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.

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“The submission of a nomination for the ESMA Memory Site Museum to the World Heritage Site necessarily brings up the issue of the connection between Cultural Heritage and Human Rights. Among the many issues to consider are those linked to offering a balanced and truthful version of historical facts, and the confirmation that the proposed cultural property is not only a relevant testimony to the country or region but also carries an outstanding universal value.

“In this sense, visiting the ESMA Memory Site Museum is an experience that engages Argentine and foreign visitors both emotionally and rationally.

"The Memory Site shows the history of the place and its main role in the organization of State terrorism between 1976 and 1983, describes the characteristics of illegal repression based on forced disappearance of people, puts visitors in contact with the testimonies of the victims, and invites them to reflect on the triumph of peaceful opposition and the Human Rights institutions’ persuasive abilities to achieve a social consensus and finally obtain justice.”

Jane Mufamadi, CEO of Freedom Park and Vusimuzi Mkhize, DG of the South African Ministry of Sports, Arts and Culture reflected on South Africa’s experiences, especially of the brutal apartheid regime which was deemed a crime against humanity, as well as South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation process. They also reinforced South Africa’s support for the candidacy of the ESMA Memory Site Museum to be declared a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.

The Cultural Programme at Freedom Park will also aim to do this, said the Embassy of Argentina in a press release, based on the idea that exposing this painful and yet hopeful process would be enough to trigger a profound perspective on the human condition and push us to question ourselves about the measures we need to take to preserve society from any kind of authoritarianism, in such a way that we will “Never Again” –as the Argentine and international motto says– see things like these happening.

All activities are free of charge. Register here for the activities