2020 will comprise of a special visit by the Mandela family to Liverpool to celebrate a week of activities to mark what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 101st birthday.
The visit will coincide with the official opening of the Mandela8 Nelson Mandela Memorial in
Prince’s Park, Liverpool 8, and the celebration of Mandela Day, which charitable organization Mandela8 will celebrate as part of a week-long series of events and celebrations.
Mandela8’s initial vision is to see a permanent memorial that functions as a unique performance, conversation and contemplation space established in Prince’s Park to celebrate, commemorate and pursue the legacy of Nelson Mandela’s outstanding achievements for humanity.
The memorial will also be a focal point and catalyst for community development and cohesion through a series of creative commissions and collaborations with widespread community and educational engagement and participation.
Dr Makaziwe (Maki) Mandela and Tukwini Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s daughter and granddaughter, took part in an official three-day visit to Liverpool in February this year to commemorate the 29-year anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison at a reception hosted by the city, and to officially mark the start the works on site for the memorial.
The idea of Mandela Day is that everyone has the ability to make an impact and do something in their own way to change the world and the world of those around them.
July 18 is Nelson Mandela International Day, now more widely known as Mandela Day, and was officially declared by the United Nations in November 2009, to acknowledge his values and dedication to the service of humanity and struggle for international democracy and peace throughout the world.
The day remembers Mandela’s achievements in working towards conflict resolution, democracy, human rights, peace and reconciliation. ‘Madiba’, as Nelson Mandela was fondly known, was one of South Africa’s greatest heroes.
Not only is he loved and respected as one of the greatest leaders in South Africa, he is also admired and respected around the world.
Liverpool has its own special relationship and connection with Nelson Mandela.
When Liverpool became aware of apartheid and Mandela’s incarceration, community activists, unions and the city came together to support the Free Nelson Mandela Campaign, and took a solid stance against apartheid.
Liverpool is built on strong political and social values and has experienced oppression, but not on the scale of South Africa.
So when awareness of the brutality of apartheid in South Africa became known in Liverpool, the city united to support Mandela, the ANC and South African people.
Mandela was gifted the freedom of the city in 1994 and a civic reception was held there in his honour 20 years later.
Mandela’s fight for justice began in 1942, and for 67 tireless years, he continued to fight for social justice and human rights.
The Mandela Week programme is designed to enable individuals and groups to give 67 minutes of their day – one minute for every year – to help someone else, ideally on Mandela Day or in that week.
Dr Maki Mandela said: “What good deed are you going to do today for someone that will make their life better?”
Words by Rodney Hinds, published in The Voice (Dec, 2019)