The City of Cape Town’s Naming and Nomination Committee has recommended to the Executive Mayor that the City commence with the proposal to install a life-size statue of the late former president, Nelson Mandela, and a permanent exhibition at City Hall. These initiatives form part of the broader revitalisation of the Grand Parade and surrounds as a tourist destination.
“Should the Mayor and full Council agree with the recommendation, the statue will be installed on the balcony at the City Hall where Madiba delivered his first public address after his release from prison on 11 February 1990,” said the Chairperson of the City’s Naming and Nomination Committee, Councillor Brett 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,” said Councillor Herron.
The proposed project is a joint effort between the City and the Western Cape Government’s Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs and the Sport Department.
The Grand Parade and City Hall have been the theatre of many national and local events and activities. It was constructed in 1905 and 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.
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.
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 and to 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 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 and will trace former President Mandela’s footsteps in the Western Cape and City Hall counts among one of the four significant sites in the province.