STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S EXECUTIVE MAYOR, PATRICIA DE LILLE
We are very excited to announce that a new installation is being mounted on the side of the Civic Centre in the Cape Town CBD to honour Freeman of the City, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. This artwork now finds itself next to the one of former President Nelson Mandela, Freeman of the City and father of our nation.
In 2015, we took the decision to honour the lives of the Arch and Mama Leah in their lifetime. This is a small token of appreciation for all the work that they have done to build a better South Africa, as a son and daughter of our soil.
When the Freedom of the City was conferred on Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu in 1998, part of his dedication read as follows:
‘As a man of peace and deep-rooted spirituality, he has stood at the heart of the struggle for human rights in this country and has worked unceasingly to build a non-racial society where all people of this Rainbow Nation can become equal claimants’.
We are grateful that due to his leadership, these words still continue to ring true almost two decades later.Linsey Levendal, the artist who created the Madiba artwork, was commissioned to work on the Tutu piece which reflects his spirit and his life’s work. The design elements include:
· stained glass referencing St George’s Cathedral
· the smiling face of Leah Tutu referencing her love and support
· a rainbow referencing the Rainbow Nation term coined by the Arch
· a baobab tree referencing the work of his foundation
· a laughing child referencing joy and his love for children
· an Aids ribbon referencing his work in the fight against HIV and Aids
· joined hands referencing Ubuntu
The artwork should be fully installed close to Human Rights Day. It is our hope that it will be a daily reminder of the sacrifices which have been made for our freedom. May it also encourage us to claim our rights with conviction, and give us the courage to give life to the values enshrined in our Constitution.
Now everyone who enters our CBD will be greeted with the smiling faces of Tata Madiba and our beloved Arch. We should all try to continue the journey which they started for us so that we can build the kind of city which they can be proud of.