Thirty years after the end of Madiba’s long walk to freedom the world still celebrates
Thirty years ago on 11 February 1990, Nelson Mandela walked out of the Pollsmoor Prison some 50 kilometres from Cape Town, a free man. His comrades took him to the Cape Town City Hall that same day where he addressed a very large crowd. This was his first public appearance as a free man. It was also in time for him to attend the Namibian Independence celebrations in Windhoek on 21 March 1990.
Commemorating this crucial turn in the liberation history of southern Africa, the current South African President, HE Cyril Ramaphosa this week honoured his mentor’s legacy by addressing a colourful crowd from that same city hall balcony. This time, the timeless leader metaphorically oversaw the doings of his underling with his statue gazing over the crowd.
The Office of President Ramaphosa said “The commemoration themed“From Freedom to Liberation” fosters critical thought, reflection and [intends] to inspire greater social cohesion by reminding South Africans and the world that South Africa overcame apartheid as a nation and the nation is therefore capable of overcoming its current struggles.”
Coinciding with this week’s celebrations, is the launch of the Mandela Freedom Project by his descendants, styling themselves as “The House of Mandela.”
“The Freedom Project is a unifying global initiative to advance what Mandela called “freedom to be free,” with the goal of creating a global platform for conversation, understanding, and action that fosters freedom in all walks of life,” stated the House of Mandela.
Working with strategic partners and a focus on targeted geographic locations beginning with the three cradles of modern freedom movements – South Africa, the United States and India – the project will activate global networks, live events, and public action in response to Mandela’s call.
“Freedom in 2020 has taken on a new meaning,” said Maki Mandela, Mandela’s daughter and Chairman of the House of Mandela. “It’s disruptive and very much alive but it’s also being challenged by a new breed of leaders who don’t see the need in honouring its principal basis of being universal and generally accepted as a human right. As a family we join millions around the world to define a new chapter of Freedom, one built on trust, understanding and unity.”
Caption: A Nelson Mandela edifice marks the spot where he stood thirty years ago to deliver his first public address as a free man. This week, that momentous occasion was remembered by the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa as he spoke to a large crowd in front of the Cape Town City Hall. (Photograph by Kopano Tlape, GCIS)