Liverpool is preparing to welcome back the family of revolutionary leader Nelson Mandela.
The former President’s eldest daughter Dr Makaziwe ‘Maki’ Mandela and his granddaughter Tukwini Mandela, are travelling to the city to make their mark on artwork which will form part of the city’s permanent Nelson Mandela memorial in Princes Park.
The completed memorial will include a ‘Freedom Bridge’, a pavilion and 32 cylindrical stone-works inscribed with inspirational Mandela quotes. These pedestals represent the oil drums used to grow an allotment on the rooftop of Pollsmoor Prison where Mandela was held for part of his prison sentence. During their six-day trip, the family will visit Crosby Memorials to personally inscribe one of the stone drums.
They will also take part in a series of celebratory and commemorative events including:
- Wednesday 20 July – A private, invitation-only civic reception at the Town Hall hosted by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool Councillor Roy Gladden
- Thursday 21 July – A special ‘An Audience With’ event at St George’s Hall with the Mandela family in conversation with the anti-apartheid activist Lord Peter Hain. It will be hosted by author Marcus Ryde MBE. Tickets are £14 or £12 concession and are available from the St George’s Hall website.
- Friday 22 July – A black tie gala dinner at the Hilton Hotel for an evening of live entertainment and fundraising. Tickets are £35 (+booking fee) and can be bought via the Eventbrite website.
- Saturday 23 July – A Freedom Festival in Princes Park with live music performances and community workshops in Princes Park. Taking place from 12.30-5.30pm the family-friendly event is free. More details will be announced soon at the Mandela8 website.
The day before the Mandela’s arrival, Liverpool will officially mark Mandela Day (18 July) which will see hundreds of school children parade down Princes Avenue into Princes Park. They will also take part in a number of activities including a picnic, and plans are in place for litter picks, wildflower sowing and a mini-beast-hunt. This day also sees the city host the Commonwealth Games Baton Relay which will also be paraded down the Avenue by nominated baton bearers.
Dr Maki and Tukwini last visited the city in February 2019 to give their blessing to the Princes Park location for the memorial which it is hoped will be completed by the end of the year.
The work will reflect Nelson 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.
Liverpool City Council made Nelson Mandela Freeman of the City in 1994.
The visit is being organised by Toxteth-based charity Mandela8 which commissioned the official memorial. The charity is working in partnership with Liverpool City Council and other supporters include Heritage Lottery Fund UK, Uniglobal Union, Unison North West, FACT, The Sovini Group, MSB Solicitors, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and housing and regeneration group Torus, the Torus Foundation and the repairs and maintenance company owned by Torus, HMS.
Dr Maki and Tukwini Mandela said, “We hold a special place in our hearts for Liverpool and its people, and we are really excited to return to see the memorial being made and be involved in a range of special events to celebrate our father and grandfather’s legacy. It is really important that now, more than ever, hope and aspiration is a key part of the legacy we continue to fulfil. We want to share that message with Liverpool when we visit.”
Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson, said, “It will be a real honour to meet Dr Maki and Tukwini in person and spend some time with a family so committed to achieving equality and devoting their lives to peace.
“They have a strong affinity with Liverpool and they are keen to be involved as work on the memorial progresses, and their visit gives us the chance to re-emphasise our solidarity and support to the Mandela legacy.
“The city council has been working closely with Mandela8 for a number of years and it will be wonderful to see work on elements of the memorial take shape in what will be a lasting tribute to Nelson Mandela’s unforgettable humanitarian achievements.”
Sonia Bassey, Mandela8 Chair said, “Mandela8 is absolutely delighted to host Dr Maki and Tukwini Mandela again after so long. We are really looking forward to showing them around our wonderful city again and making sure they get to meet as many people as possible this time. We have arranged a fantastic programme to celebrate their return and the making of our memorial.”
Cath Murray-Howard, Chief Operating Officer from Torus Group said, “Torus is proud to be associated with such a seminal event, Mandela8 has for many years been a close partner as so many of our tenants live in the area. The Torus Foundation, based in the Fire Fit Hub, Toxteth will support all the celebratory events by working with all colleagues on many wonderful activities.”
Image: Dr Makaziwe Mandela and her daughter Tukwini Mandela visited Princes Park in 2019 ©Liverpool City Council