That famous balcony from where Nelson Mandela gave his first speech as a free man in 1990 is about to become even more famous.
It has been proposed by the City of Cape Town that a commemorative statue be erected at the now-famous landmark balcony at Cape Town City Hall, to honour the late leader on what would have been his 100th birthday this year. This, in conjunction with a soon-to-be ongoing Madiba restoration project at City Hall, are to become two of the newest facets of the National Liberation Heritage Route‚ an initiative of the National Heritage Council and the Department of Tourism.
Funding will come from the Western Cape Government, a costing valued to be around R3.5 million for the memorial and R1.3 million in operation costs. However, a public participation process is underway where Capetonians are able to have a say in the matter.
Local councillor Brett Heron has been quoted by News24 as stating ‘We want to work more closely with our residents, and an important aspect of strengthening the relationship between the City and Capetonians is for our residents to participate in matters that affect them and which they feel strongly about.’
Do you feel that the renovation at Cape Town City Hall is wise spending for a good, important cause? A noble cause to commemorate our leaders from yesteryear? Or rather should we, as a city, focus on addressing more immediate, burning issues which crying out for financial gain before we begin allocating funds toward heritage?
Over 50 000 South Africans gathered at the Cape Town City Hall on that eventful day back on February 11th, 1990, where Nelson Mandela addressed the crowd just hours after being released from the then Victor Verster prison.