Nelson Mandela statue unveiled in Seychelles’ Peace Park on South African icon’s birthday

A three-metre bronze statue of Nelson Mandela was unveiled at the Seychelles’ Peace Park in Victoria on Thursday in honour of the universally beloved South African president.

Nelson Mandela is an iconic figure in the world, with values, way of living, and ideals that he wanted the world to follow such as peace and reconciliation. Due to this, we found it fitting to have his statue in our peace park, said Cecile Kalebi, the principal secretary for culture.

The statue was unveiled by Seychelles’ president, Danny Faure, and the daughter of Nelson Mandela, Zenani Mandela Dlamini, on July 18, coinciding with the anniversary of the birth of the former and late South African President.

This is a special and momentous occasion. Today the people of this beautiful island nation join all South Africans and the rest of the world in commemorating Nelson Mandela International Day, said Zenani Mandela at the unveiling ceremony.

South Africans believe that we are blessed to have an icon like Mandela. The whole world is blessed to share Mandela with us. Let’s continue to preserve the name of Nelson Mandela and his legacy. Let his legacy live-on for thousands of years to come, she added.

Made by one of South Africa’s leading sculptors, Jane Doyle, the statue was fully funded by Eden Island at a cost of $110,000. Doyle was the same artist who crafted the statue of Seychelles’ late former president, James Mancham, unveiled at the Peace Park in May.

Since 2010, July 18 is celebrated as the United Nations Mandela Day. The day remembers Mandela’s achievements in working towards conflict resolution, democracy, human rights, peace, and reconciliation.

Kalebi said that Mandela can be looked upon by the youth of Seychelles as a model and for inspiration. The statue also represents the good friendship that exists between Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, and South Africa. Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established 25 years ago.

Mandela is one of the most well-known anti-apartheid activists in South Africa. He was jailed in 1963 for leading the liberation movement against apartheid and for his stance on the human right to live in freedom. He became the first democratically elected President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.

Nelson Mandela founded three organisations — the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Nelson MandelaChildren’s Fund and the Mandela Rhodes Foundation in 2004.

He was very concerned for the well-being of children and youth, very concerned for dialogue and reconciliation and very concerned for the development of excellent African leaders, said Shaun Johnson, the executive director of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation.

The Mandela Rhodes Foundation is regarded as the most prestigious and competitive postgraduate scholarship program on the African continent. Sheena Talma was the first Seychellois to be awarded a scholarship by the Mandela Rhodes Foundation.

The next statue to be unveiled is expected to be that of Seychelles’ late president, France Albert Rene, in November.

Source: Seychelles News Agency