The prominent position of the nine foot bronze statue, facing the Houses of Parliament, will honour Nelson Mandela as one of the greatest fighters for freedom in the 20th century. It will also be a permanent statement of London’s abhorrence of Apartheid and every other form of racism.
The unveiling will evoke a remark of Nelson Mandela himself, which he probably never thought he would see realised:
‘Oliver (Tambo)and I saw the sights of the city that had once commanded nearly two-thirds of the globe. Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament. When I gloried in the beauty of these buildings, I was ambivalent about what they represented. When we saw the statue of General Smuts near Westminster Abbey, Oliver and I joked that perhaps someday there would be a statue of us in its stead.’ (Nelson Mandela, ‘A Long Walk To Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela’)
The unveiling ceremony will be attended by the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and members of the Mandela Statue Fund, including actor and director Sir Richard Attenborough and Wendy Woods, widow of anti-apartheid campaigner Donald Woods, widow of anti-apartheid campaigner Donald Woods, who conceived the idea of placing a statue of Mandela in central London.
The Mayor said: ‘Nelson Mandela symbolises everything noble in the human spirit. He stood firm against one of the most ghastly forms of racism ever devised through decades of isolation and imprisonment. I hope that in honouring Nelson Mandela in this way Londoners today can make clear their commitment to uproot every form of racism from this planet.’
· Media wishing to apply for accreditation to cover the unveiling should contact the Mayor of London’s press office as soon as possible and by Wednesday 22 August at the latest.
· There will be a recce for broadcasters and photographers and due to the nature of the site it is recommended they take part. Please confirm if you wish to attend the recce, which will be organised as soon as possible.
· Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional information, please call Ben McKnight on
020 7983 4071 or Rachelle Laurence on 020 7983 4068.
Notes to editors
· The idea of placing a statue to honour Nelson Mandela in a prominent place in London was initiated by Donald Woods, the journalist and anti-apartheid activist in South Africa, who died in 2001.
· Donald Woods chose Ian Walters to undertake the work, because of his sculpture of Mandela on the South Bank and his links with the anti-apartheid movement.
· Walters began the clay bust in 2001 when he travelled to Mandela’s home in South Africa, where the statesman sat for him for a total of nine hours. Walters completed the clay model of the statue just before his death and chose Nigel Boonham to supervise the completion of the statue, which is currently being cast in bronze at a foundry.
MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Press information is available from Ben McKnight on 020 7983 4071, or Rachelle Laurence on 020 7983 4068 / email email@example.com (not for publication)
GENERAL PUBLIC/NON-MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Call the Public Liaison Unit at the Greater London Authority on 020 7983 4100
DUTY PRESS OFFICER: For out-of-hours media enquiries, please call 020 7983 4000