New life-size Madiba statue in Cape Town gets the go ahead

2017-07-03 11:09 - Ishani Chetty
Post a comment 0

Cape Town - The City of Cape Town's Naming and Nomination Committee has recommended to Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille that the city go ahead with the plans to implement the life sized statue of Former President, Nelson Mandela as well as a permanent exhibition at the City Hall.

The project will bring about a revitalisation of the Grand Parade and focuses it as a tourist destination, according to the city.

Honouring Madiba 

Have you seenBeautiful News: Released every day at 16:14 - exact time president Nelson Mandela was released from Victor Verster prison on 11 February 1990.

With service delivery a key issue across the Western Cape, there has been much public debate about whether or not this statue is necessary, with a call for the public on whether it should be installed. 

The public participation process concluded at the end of June and the proposed heritage project to commemorate the life and work of Madiba and those involved within the transition to democracy will now go ahead.

SEE: Honoring Tata Madiba: Does Cape Town need a R3.5m statue of Nelson Mandela?

"We have discussed the report and have recommended to the Executive Mayor that the City accept the donation of a life- sized statue of the late former president, Nelson Mandela, from the Western Cape Government. Should the Mayor and full council agree with the recommendation,the statue will be installed on the balcony of the City Hall where Madiba delivered his first public address after his release from prison on 11 February 1990', says the Chairperson of the City's Naming and Nomination Committee, Councillor Brett Herron.

The reason for support of this project is to redevelop the City Hall and the Grand Parade as civic spaces in Cape Town, says Herron.

"City Hall and the Grand Parade have great potential as tourist attractions and could contribute significantly to local job creation and economic opportunities. Those who have recently visited the Grand Parade in particular will be aware of the challenges we face in keeping the area clean and attractive. Given its location next to the Castle and opposite City Hall, we now have the opportunity to turn this historic landmark into prime cultural tourism destination," he says.

The proposed project is a joint effort between the City and the Western Cape Government Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs as well as the Sport Department. 

SEE: PICS: Cape Town's festive lights switch-on with one massive Mother City party

Boost to local tourism

"Any investment that will boost our local tourism sector by extending the tourist season, creating special destinations in Cape Town itself, and which will encourage tourists to spend more time and money in our city, is worth every cent. Our residents need jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities and we will leave no stone un-turned in pursuing this objective,’ says Herron.

 The Grand Parade and City Hall have been the theatre of many national and local events and activities. The area has presided over civic protests and public jubilation.

"Constructed in 1905, the City Hall is a major public heritage asset. It is one of South Africa’s most imposing early 20th century buildings, an exemplary building of its type and an important visual icon of Cape Town. Set against Table Mountain, it forms a dramatic backdrop to the Grand Parade – the City’s main place of public gathering which we also intend to revitalise through this project," says Herron.

The Western Cape Government will fund the Nelson Mandela statue which is to be donated to the City, should the Mayor and Council concur with the Naming and Nomination Committee’s recommendation.

SEE: 6 Possible ways Cape Town's unfinished freeway bridges will be transformed


"Thus, the procurement of the proposed statue will be at no cost to Cape Town’s ratepayers. The City has, however, budgeted approximately R1,3 million for the operational costs, inclusive of the ongoing maintenance of the exhibition and statue. The R1,3 million must be seen as an investment in the neglected area adjacent to Darling Street. All of us – be it job seekers, artists, entrepreneurs, tourists or ordinary Capetonians – will share in the long-term benefits of uplifting and redeveloping these spaces,’ said Councillor Herron.

The statue will have a long term positive effect on the growth of tourism as well as an investment in the City of Cape Town. 

'To form part of the National Liberation Heritage Route' 

The memorialisation and permanent exhibition at the City Hall form part of the National Liberation Heritage Route, an initiative of the National Heritage Council and the National Department of Tourism.

It is proposed that the permanent exhibition at the City Hall will consist of interpretive panels, audio-visual equipment and interactive displays to commemorate Madiba’s legacy. It will further honour the organisations and people who were involved in the liberation struggle, the events leading up to Mandela’s release and the transition to democracy.

"The City Hall falls within the National Liberation Heritage Route, but little has been done to date to highlight its prominence and the significant events that took place here in 1990. The permanent exhibition will assist us to mine the full potential of the City Hall by turning it into a popular tourist attraction where visitors can visualise the events and have a full experience of our journey to democracy. Numerous people and organisations had a hand in one of our nation’s most historic moments and we want to honour them as well," says Herron.

SEE: 6 Epic Heritage tours in SA

Project said to increase job opportunities across SA

The development of a Madiba legacy route is included in the Western Cape Government’s Project Khulisa which intends to add approximately 100 000 jobs to the local tourism sector.

The Madiba legacy project traces former President Mandela’s footsteps in the Western Cape and City Hall is considered among one of the four significant sites in the province.

"Counting among the main pillars of the City’s new Organisational Development and Transformation Plan is to create a city based on integrated communities, economic inclusion and access to opportunities. The proposed exhibition and statue of Madiba will give the area and surrounds a much-needed economic injection and assist with job creation," says Herron. 

The overall projects and movement towards the National Liberation Heritage Route will bring about a boost in tourism and establish local job creation - the increase in both tourism revenue and state revenue is a sure positive towards creating the statue. 

On Tuesday 18 July South Africa Celebrates Madiba Day - Are you planning anything? Let us know at

What to read next on Traveller24: 

- #HopeForKnysna: Garden Route Events, sites and experiences not to miss

-#EcoTravels; 5 Green airports around the world 

- Weather Update: Winter chill grips first week of SA school holidays