The iconic moment in which Nelson Mandela gave his first speech as a free man in February 1990 has been captured in a new monument at the Cape Town City Hall.
The 1.95 metre bronze Madiba statue was unveiled to the citizens of Cape Town on Tuesday during a ceremony attended by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and representatives of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, amongst others.
The statue will now take pride of place on the same balcony where Madiba first addressed thousands of eager South Africans with the words: “Friends, comrades and fellow South Africans. I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy and freedom for all.”
Unveiling the statue, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille said the best way to honour the legacy of Nelson Mandela is to build an economy that creates opportunities for more citizens.
“This statue will form part of the new Madiba Legacy tourism route, which is expected to attract many more visitors to our region. The route begins at Robben Island, and moves through historic landmarks such as Parliament, before ending here at City Hall,” Zille said.
MEC for Economic Opportunities Alan Winde said the statue pays tribute to a remarkable man in South African history and recalls a moment that held so much promise and opportunity, which most South Africans will never forget.
“As the Western Cape government, we wanted to create something that not only honours the man that Nelson Mandela was, but which will ensure that the citizens of the country he loved so dearly will also benefit. The legacy project is about growing tourism, expanding the economy to create new jobs and about telling the stories of the Western Cape in a way that honours its people,” Winde said.
Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille said Madiba standing on the balcony after 27 years in prison symbolised the triumph of a generation of leaders that sacrificed everything for freedom.
“That historic moment has now been captured in this life-sized monument. This is a fitting tribute to an extraordinary leader and will be a physical reminder to current and future generations of the sacrifices he made during the liberation struggle.
“May it also serve as a reminder that we must all strive to emulate his example of living in service to others for the betterment of our communities and country,” De Lille said.
The tender for the statue was awarded to Koketso Growth, headed up by Dali Tambo. Artists Barry Jackson and Xhanti Mpakama were commissioned to complete the tribute.
Tambo said the process began with answering the question: “How do we recall that moment in time best?
“We wanted it to be perfect. It’s going to be there for more than 300 years with some waxing and polishing, and so you want people, now and in the future, to be gifted by it, to remember that special moment.
“That moment in time was precious for the country and precious for him as he tasted freedom for the first time, and precious for the world as it signalled the end of apartheid. It’s a beautiful representation and the artists did very well,” Tambo said. – SAnews.gov.za