The family of revolutionary leader Nelson Mandela have announced they will be heading to Liverpool next year when work is set to start on a tribute to the Freeman of the City.
The former President’s eldest daughter Dr Makaziwe ‘Maki’ Mandela and his granddaughter Tukwini Mandela, will visit Princes Park on Monday 11 February – giving their seal of approval and allowing work to officially start on the permanent memorial to the revered freedom fighter.
The installation will reflect Mandela’s life, his love of gardens and horticulture, his teaching and passion for equality and humanity.
The announcement is being made today, as the 5 December marks five years since the death of Nelson Mandela.
The three day visit, which has been organised by the Mandela8 group in partnership with the city council, will also see the family members visit a number of community projects as well as taking part in a special civic reception hosted by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool Councillor Christine Banks, and a fundraising event hosted by the TUC, which will see proceeds go towards the development of the memorial.
Dr Makaziwe Mandela said: “I am delighted to be invited to the city of Liverpool, a city which honoured my Father with the Freedom of the City in 1994, a city whose links with South Africa are longstanding and whose communities have stood alongside South Africa, fighting injustice and Anti-Apartheid.
“Most importantly the visit will mark the 29 year anniversary of my father’s release from prison. It is significant to the family that we are marking that occasion in Liverpool, alongside the start of works on site for the Mandela8 memorial. We look forward to meeting those involved in supporting South Africa’s struggle against Apartheid, and continuing our dialogue about educational opportunity.”
Lynn Collins, Mandela8 Chair, said: “Our city has such a strong connection and history with the campaign to free Mandela, a campaign which brought community activists and trades unionists together with one voice. This visit is a chance for us to show Madiba’s family the solidarity and support of our city, to ensure the legacy, values and ideals of their loved one are formally marked here, and to begin the work to build our ongoing educational programme with their support and guidance.
“At a time when our city has been regularly called on to show its opposition to racism, fascism and xenophobia in all its forms, the visit and chance to celebrate the life of Mandela couldn’t be more appropriate in uniting us all.”
Sonia Bassey, Director and one of the founding members of Mandela8 said: “This visit represents so much to our community, Mandela8 and me personally as one of the founding members along with Stephen Nze.
“Our political education and passion for equality was founded on the struggles of Liverpool 8 and South Africa, in particular the suffering Nelson Mandela endured in his fight for equality, and the tenacity and deep rooted passion he showed for people and his country. It is a special honour for us that Dr Maki and Tukwini will be visiting our community and hearing about our struggles from activists in our community who supported Anti-Apartheid.
Liverpool’s Deputy Mayor, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “We’re delighted Dr Maki and Tukwini Mandela will be coming to the city next year and we look forward to giving them a warm Liverpool welcome.
“The city council and Mandela8 have been working closely with Dr Maki for some time on the memorial project, and we know how touched they are that this tribute will be taking centre stage in one of our beautiful green spaces.
“To have them here in person to kick-start the beginning of the work on the installation means a huge amount, and will be an opportunity for us to once again reflect on Mandela’s unforgettable humanitarian achievements.”
The Mandela8 group also aims to reinstate a bridge link in the Grade II* park which would link the mainland to the lake island. The area around the memorial will also provide space for learning, events and reflection. Plans are in place to integrate some of Nelson Mandela’s iconic words into the artwork, in a way which communicates his messages and relevance to Toxteth, Liverpool and wider community today.
The visit in February is sponsored by MSB Solicitors.