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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Statue of Former South African President Dr Nelson Mandela Unveiled in London

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Dr. Nelson Mandela, the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech said ,"I stand here today as nothing more than a representative of the millions of our people who dared to rise up against a social system whose very essence is war, violence, racism, oppression, repression and the impoverishment of an entire people."

A three-metre high bronze statue of former South African President Dr. Nelson Mandela was unveiled in London on 29th August 2007, to commemorate his struggle against “APARTHEID”, an ethnic separation based on human- skin colours, towards South Africans and his imprisonment for 27 long years, for the noble cause.

The unveiling ceremony was held on the Parliament Square, London, where Dr. Nelson Mandela's statue has joined other statues of notable leaders like Sir.Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln, who also resisted oppression.

Mr. Nelson Mandela, aged 89 years, made his way to the platform, leaning on the arms of his wife, Dr.Mrs. Graca Machel. Despite his frail appearance, he spoke very clearly and said, "Though this statue is of one man, it actually symbolizes all those who have resisted oppression especially in my country.

The history of the struggle in South Africa is rich with the stories of heroes and heroines some of them leaders, some of them followers all of them deserve to be remembered.

 Dr.Mandela described how on a visit to Westminster in 1962 with his late comrade in the struggle, Oliver Tambo they had talked with hopeful dreams that, one day a statue of a black person would be erected there alongside that of Jan Smuts, a former South African prime minister.

That dream has become a reality today, by the  erection of his own statue,which was unveiled in his presence, during his life-time.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone, anti-apartheid campaigners and community leaders also attended the ceremony outside Britain's Parliament, close to Westminster Abbey, along with a gospel choir and 40 dancers in carnival costume. Before unveiling the statue British Prime Minister Mr. Gordon Brown paid a moving tribute to Dr. Mandela and said,

"Dr.Mandela is a man whose belief in the future was so powerful, even twenty-seven years behind bars and barbed wire could not destroy his dreams and his demands, that by fighting "apartheid" from his prison cell millions today could be and are free,"

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