Michele Teboul   26 February 2019

A close up at hands holding a leaflet of Mandela8 organisation

Nelson Mandela has long held a special place in the heart of Liverpool. Inspired by the bravery of his fight for justice and equality in South Africa, the city honoured him with The Freedom of the City in 1994.

The communities living in the L8 (Liverpool 8) postcode area were particularly vocal in their support for his struggle by fiercely campaigning over the years against the apartheid regime.

In 2013, the community-based charity Mandela8 was formed to commemorate the life of Nelson Mandela through the creation of a permanent memorial in Princes Park in Toxteth (part of the L8 postcode district).

Sonia Bassey from Mandela8 says, “we are a campaigning city and wanted to celebrate the most significant global leader of our time.”

In honour of Mandela’s love of horticulture, the memorial is planned to be a beautiful garden in Princes Park. It will include a Freedom Bridge across the lake, a pavilion and 32 cylindrical pillars inscribed with Mandela's quotes. The 32 pillars represent the 16 oil drums that Mandela cut in half and filled with soil to create an allotment on the rooftop of Pollsmoor Prison.

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“A garden was one of the few things in prison that one could control. To plant a seed, watch it grow, to tend it and then harvest it, offered a simple but enduring satisfaction. The sense of being the custodian of this small patch of earth offered a small taste of freedom.”

Nelson Mandela – A long walk to freedom

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The family visit

It was important to Mandela8 and the city council to get the Mandela family blessing for the memorial. And so they invited the former President’s eldest daughter Dr Makaziwe ‘Maki’ Mandela and his granddaughter, Tukwini Mandela, to visit Princes Park on Monday 11 February 2019 – the 29-year anniversary of Mandela’s release from prison.

The family were more than happy to give their blessing and so work can now officially start. In an interview WorldRemit conducted with Tukwini Mandela about the project, Tukwini says;

“Liverpool was one of the few places in the world that fought against apartheid. Part of the reason why we live in South Africa we live in today is because of the people of Liverpool.”

To hear more of this interview and a discussion with Sonia Bassey from Mandela8, please watch our video here.