When Nelson Mandela was awarded the Freedom of the City of Cape Town in 1997, he said that ‘Cape Town’s greatness lies not only in its contribution to our economy but in its involvement in our country’s history.’
Former President Nelson Mandela is a global icon, but so much of his remarkable life story is tied to Cape Town and the Western Cape. To celebrate his life, his contribution to the country and his centenary, the Western Cape Government and the City of Cape Town will be unveiling a bronze statue of the great father of our nation at the City Hall on 24 July 2018.
This will be a fitting tribute to a man to whom we owe a great debt for the sacrifices he made in the journey to attaining our hard-fought freedom and democracy.
The statue must serve as a constant reminder of that historical day and the many years of sacrifice that led to that moment when he was freed and later addressed thousands of citizens from the City Hall balcony.
The statue will be positioned on the balcony where Nelson Mandela stood when he gave his first address as a free man on 11 February 1990. The sculpture has been created by artists Xhanti Mpakama and Barry Jackson.
Mpakama is a young artist who was born near to where Nelson Mandela grew up in the Eastern Cape, while Jackson is an experienced bronze sculptor who has crafted artworks of several historical figures for the National Heritage Project. Both artists worked on the Mandela bust which takes pride of place in front of the National Assembly at the South African Parliament.
Koketso Growth, run by Dali Tambo, was awarded the tender for the project.
This sculpture forms part of an initiative by the Western Cape Government and the City of Cape Town to share former President Mandela’s story with the world. As part of Project Khulisa, the economic development strategy for the region, a Madiba legacy route was envisaged. The route will allow visitors to follow in Nelson Mandela’s footsteps and visit key sites in the province such as Robben Island where he was imprisoned for most of his sentence, to Drakenstein prison and eventually to Parliament, where he was sworn in as our country’s first democratically-elected President in 1994.
The focus for the current year has been on developing the City Hall site and the linkage with Madiba House at Drakenstein Prison. This is where Mandela spent the last 14 months of his prison sentence, and where negotiations between the apartheid government and the liberation movement took place. It is also from here that the former president took his first steps as a free man.
In August 2017, the City of Cape Town Council resolved to approve a new memorial in honour of Tata Madiba on the balcony of the City Hall.
The City of Cape Town will also unveil an exhibition focusing on Mr Mandela’s life and times in Cape Town, the people and organisations involved in the liberation struggle in Cape Town and the events leading up to Mr Mandela’s release and his iconic address from the balcony of the City Hall on 11 February 1990.
‘Nelson Mandela is one of a handful of people whom we can really call a global icon. He selflessly gave so much of himself for the people of South Africa, but his message of peace and tolerance endeared him to the world. We wanted to celebrate him and pay tribute. For us, there was no better way to do that than by developing a route that would tell his story to the world, but also create opportunities for the people of this province,’ said MEC for Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde.
‘Mandela had a very close connection with Cape Town as it was here that he was imprisoned and here that he was finally set free and delivered his first speech as a free man from the City Hall balcony. It is therefore fitting that we honour him in this way in the Mother City as we commemorate 100 years since the birth of a world icon who sacrificed so much for our freedom and democracy. As we mark this momentous occasion this year, we must all do more to emulate his example and serve those who need our help most. In doing so, we can make greater strides in building a caring and inclusive city and ensuring that the work of Mandela in fighting for our rights and freedoms is felt by all,’ said Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille.
‘Nelson Mandela’s legacy can be seen all around us on a daily basis. We are honoured to see his spirit live on through arts, culture, sport and heritage. We continue to celebrate his life through our daily work and we encourage residents and visitors to the city to remember him as they enjoy everything that Cape Town has to offer. We will continue to follow his example in fostering social inclusion in all the communities that we serve,’ said Anroux Marais, Minister for Cultural Affairs and Sport.
Unveiling event details:
Date: Tuesday 24 July, 2018
Venue: City Hall, Cape Town
All members of the media wishing to attend must RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by noon on Thursday 19 July 2018.
The public is welcome to gather on the Grand Parade in front of the City Hall to watch the unveiling which will happen at around 15:00.