A bronze statue of South Africa’s first democratic president, Nelson Mandela, was unveiled at City Hall in Cape Town today.
The statue is situated at the very spot Mandela made his first speech after being released from prison on February 11, 1990.
Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille and Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu attended the unveiling.
Tutu said the statue was a symbol of Madiba’s role in restoring the dignity of South Africans – black and white.
“To me, his greatest triumph was restoring our pride and self-belief. The journey to discovering ourselves began here, this place, on that February day in 1990. That is what we celebrate today,” said Tutu.
“There’s been hiccups and speed bumps along the way, the bus recently threatened to career off the proverbial cliff, but the healing process must continue.”
De Lille reflected on the complex relationship between Madiba and Cape Town, where he spent his 27 years behind bars.
“Yes, he was unjustly imprisoned on Robben Island for many years and it was in Cape Town where he also presided over the first democratic parliament that ushered in a new Constitution and an era of dignity and rights. It was in Cape Town where Nelson Mandela established the Nelson Mandela Rhodes Foundation and it’s also here where he received the freedom of the city,” said De Lille.
“Now, considering this rich and complex relationship and our ongoing commitment to furthering his ideals, the city spent the year ensuring that his values and commitment to its future are woven into all the work we are doing.”
The statue, commissioned by the Western Cape government and the City of Cape Town, was created by artists Xhanti Mpakama and Barry Jackson.
– African News Agency (ANA)