Nelson Mandela Centenary to pack a punch

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A rose named in his honour, as well as various television series to be aired globally, will form part of the celebrations of the life of former President Nelson Mandela.

Next year, South Africa and the world will mark what would have been the former President’s 100th birthday on 18 July.

Speaking at an event marking the fourth anniversary of Madiba’s passing, Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) Chief Executive Officer Sello Hatang said people are still inspired by the man known as the father of the nation, who was also an avid boxer.

Hatang said the NMF will work closely with at least 50 projects that will honour the life and times of the former statesman.

“The projects we have chosen are multi-faceted and diverse,” Hatang told those who attended the event at the Foundation’s Centre of Memory on a rainy Johannesburg evening.

The projects, he said, extend over continents, with proposals having being accepted from countries such as Argentina, Australia and China, among others.

As part of the centenary celebrations of the man born in Mvezo in the Eastern Cape on 18 July 1918, who would ultimately become South Africa’s first democratically elected President, four confirmed TV series will be aired globally. The series deal with different periods of the icon’s life.

“We have met with the President of FIFA [Gianni Infantino] and [we hope that FIFA] will dedicate a game to Madiba,” said Hatang of the FIFA delegation that visited South Africa in February.

A rose for Madiba

Horticulturist Keith Kirsten’s company has bred a unique rose that will be named Mandela. The proceeds from the rose that will be sold across the world will go to the Mandela Foundation.

Merchandise made in honour of the statesman will again be available at OR Tambo and Cape Town International Airports.

Hatang said the foundation would at a later date announce partnership details it has with the Reserve Bank and the Post Office.

“This is just a fraction of what we hope will be a transformative year with enthusiastic and talented stakeholders and supporters,” said Hatang.

Meanwhile, government has established an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Nelson Mandela’s Centenary. The centenary IMC is responsible for planning and coordinating the centenary programme befitting the legacy and heritage of Mandela.

The IMC is made up of Ministers from departments such as Arts and Culture, Communications and Public Works, among others.

Speaking at Tuesday’s event via video link, Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe said the IMC has already started to engage with the foundation.

“The IMC will be working in close collaboration with the foundation to ensure that we develop a programme appropriate for someone of Madiba's stature. It is our objective to ensure that the national project is as inclusive as possible,” said Minister Radebe, who is also chair of the IMC.

Hatang said the foundation will also apply an inter-sectional approach to its work focusing on gender, race and class. The digitisation of the archives project will continue.

NMF chairperson, Professor Njabulo Ndebele, said the centre’s permanent exhibitions now have Braille tags to provide the visually impaired with a richer experience when visiting the centre.

Turning his attention to Mandela Day, which is commemorated around the world, Hatang said next year’s instalment of the day will be used to facilitate global activity.

“Mandela Day will focus on sustainable and measurable projects… For us, the issue is dealing with poverty and inequality,” said Hatang.

The foundation will also launch a book project with the assistance of Madiba’s widow Graça Machel.

Minister Radebe said plans for the launch of the centenary as well as details of the programme will be announced in due course. -

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