The iconic moment in which Nelson Mandela gave his first speech as a free man in Cape Town in February 1990 has been captured forever in a new monument, which was unveiled at the City Hall recently.

At the Unveiling, which was attended by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, representatives of the Nelson Mandela Foundation and other dignitaries, the 1,95-metre bronze statue was revealed to the citizens of Cape Town.

It will now take pride of place on the same balcony where Nelson Mandela first addressed thousands of eager South Africans with the words: ˇ§Friends, comrades and fellow South Africans, I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy and freedom for allˇ¨.

At the unveiling, Premier Helen Zille said: ˇ§The best way to honour the legacy of Nelson Mandela, is to ensure that we build an economy that creates opportunities for more citizens. This statue will form part of the new Madiba Legacy Tourism Route, which is expected to attract many more visitors to our region. The route begins at Robben Island, and moves through historic landmarks such as Parliament, before ending here at City Hall.ˇ¨

Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille, said: ˇ§Madiba standing on that balcony after 27 years in prison, symbolised the triumph of a generation of leaders who sacrificed everything for our freedom. That historic moment has now been captured in this life-sized monument. This is a fitting tribute to an extraordinary leader and will be a physical reminder to current and future generations of the sacrifices he made during the liberation struggle. May it also serve as a reminder that we must all strive to emulate his example of living in service to others for the betterment of our communities and countryˇ¨.

The tender for the statue was awarded to Koketso Growth, headed up by Dali Tambo. They commissioned artists Barry Jackson and Xhanti Mpakama to complete the tribute.

Tambo said the process began with answering the question: ˇ§How do we recall that moment in time best?ˇ¨

ˇ§We wanted it to be perfect, itˇ¦s going to be there for more than 300 years with some waxing and polishing, and so you want people, now and in the future, to be gifted by it, to remember that special moment. That moment in time was precious for the country and precious for him as he tasted freedom for the first time, and precious for the world as it signalled the end of apartheid. Itˇ¦s a beautiful representation and the artists did very well,ˇ¨ he said.

The statue stands 1,95 metres tall and weighs 120 kilograms. It was cast in bronze at Sculpting Casting Services in Strand.

ˇV Source: www.ewn.co.za