Liverpool is set to welcome the family of revolutionary leader Nelson Mandela when they arrive in the city next week.
The former President’s eldest daughter Dr Makaziwe ‘Maki’ Mandela and his granddaughter Tukwini Mandela, will spend three days in Liverpool (Monday to Wednesday).
Their first engagement will see them head to Princes Park on the 11 February to give their blessing to the location where a permanent memorial to Nelson Mandela will stand.
They will be joined by Mayor Joe Anderson and local charity Mandela8, which commissioned the memorial, and take part in a special ceremony which will officially start the work onsite.
The family will also be given a tour of where the new ‘Freedom Bridge’ will be located, a planned pavilion and 32 cylindrical stoneworks inscribed with inspirational Mandela quotes. The pedestals represent the oil drums Mandela used to grow an allotment on the rooftop of Pollsmoor Prison.
The work reflects upon Mandela’s love of gardens and horticulture along with his struggle for freedom, equality and humanity. The spaces will be used for future activity in the park, acting as a focal point and an area to visit, reflect and educate.
Dr Maki and Tukwini will also meet with one of memorial designers Thomas Kendall from Wayward – an award-winning design practice that connects art, landscape, community and nature. He will talk through the designs commissioned by Mandela8.
The family members will spend their remaining time in Liverpool visiting a number of community projects, including the Steve Biko Housing Association, taking part in a special community event in L8, being the guests of honour at civic reception in the Town Hall and heading to Bellerive FCJ Catholic College for an assembly.
They will also head to St George’s Hall to see the limited edition ‘Struggles Collection’ prints Nelson Mandela created and Dr Maki gifted to the city in March last year when Mandela8 visited South Africa. The artwork is on permanent display in the Hall.
On Tuesday 12 February, Dr Maki will lead a special, sold-out lecture at the Martin Luther King Building. Entitled Unity: what that meant to Nelson Mandela.
Their visit will end on 13 February with a Mandela8 TUC fundraiser in recognition of the Mandela’s visit to Liverpool. Go to https://bit.ly/2sXlW3Lfor more information or to book tickets.
The three days have been organised by Mandela8, in partnership with Liverpool City Council.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “It is a privilege and an honour for the Mandela family for what will be a very special occasion.
“We have a strong connection with the family and are proud that Nelson Mandela was made Freeman of the City on 1994 in recognition of his central role in bringing the evil of apartheid to an end.
“The memorial project has been years in the planning and we know how touched Maki and Tukwini are that this tribute will be taking centre stage in such a beautiful green space. It will be wonderful for them to see the area themselves and spend time getting to know some of our community groups who do such amazing work in the city.
“Their visit will kick-start work on the installation and will give us all an opportunity to once again to reflect on Nelson Mandela’s unforgettable humanitarian achievements.”
Dr Maki said: “I am delighted to be invited to the city of Liverpool – a city which honoured my father and a city whose links with South Africa are longstanding. Liverpool has stood side by side with South Africa, fighting injustice and supporting anti-apartheid.
“Most importantly the visit will mark the 29 year anniversary of my father’s release from prison and we are pleased to be acknowledging the significant milestone in Liverpool. We look forward to meeting those involved in supporting South Africa’s struggle against apartheid, and continuing our dialogue about educational opportunity.”
Sonia Bassey, Chair and one of the founding members of Mandela8, 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 Mandela’s family the unity and support of our city, to ensure his legacy, values and ideals are formally marked here, and to begin the work to build our ongoing educational programme with their support and guidance.
“Working closely with the family, the Princes Park memorial will aim to break down barriers within local communities, promote social and racial understanding, tolerance and tackle issues around cultural diversity.
“We are very grateful for the extensive support we have received from Liverpool City Council, and Mandela8 is thrilled to be co-hosting this visit. We look forward to laying foundations for both the memorial itself and for future international exchanges between Mandela8, Liverpool and our South African friends and supporters.”
Heather Ring, Director, Wayward, said: “Wayward is deeply honoured to be selected to design the Nelson Mandela Memorial.
“This important remembrance is for future generations to discover how the men and women in the great city of Liverpool stood with Nelson Mandela throughout his struggle to end apartheid and heal a fractured nation.
“The design of the memorial reflects upon the gardens Mandela tended to while incarcerated, notably in oil drums at Pollsmoor Prison, which stood as symbols of resistance, tools for resilience, spaces for reflection and platforms for community.”