How better to celebrate the Freeman of the City than a festival? Well, this July a free festival is taking place to celebrate the family of Nelson Mandela visiting Liverpool as a new memorial to the revolutionary leader in Princes Park nears completion.
The event is part of a week-long celebration being organised by Toxteth-based charity Mandela8, which commissioned the official memorial. The afternoon festival – taking place on July 23, from 12:30pm until 5:30pm, has been curated by Africa Oyé who recently celebrated their 30th anniversary with their own milestone festival just last month.
The musical offering promises ‘live performances from the best of South Africa and Liverpool talent’ with headline slots from international stars, BCUC and Nkulee Dube, and Merseyside being well represented by Ni Maxine, Sense of Sound Choir, AMBA, Staged Kaos and Stuart B. The festival will also feature a range of traders selling food, drinks, arts and crafts, as well as free family workshops from the likes of Movema, LFC’s Open Goals Project, Katumba, LUSH, North West Cancer Research and Scouse Flowerhouse and much more.
The former South African President’s eldest daughter Dr Makaziwe ‘Maki’ Mandela and his granddaughter Tukwini Mandela, are travelling to Liverpool to make their mark on artwork which will form part of the city’s permanent Nelson Mandela memorial in Princes Park. Dr Maki and Tukwini last visited the city in February 2019 to give their blessing to the Princes Park location for the memorial, and it is hoped this will be completed by the end of the year.
The completed memorial will include a ‘Freedom Bridge’, a pavilion and 32 cylindrical stone-works inscribed with inspirational Mandela quotes. These pedestals represent the oil drums used to grow an allotment on the rooftop of Pollsmoor Prison where Mandela was held for part of his prison sentence. During their six-day trip, the family will visit Crosby Memorials to personally inscribe one of the stone drums.
Their visit this year includes a Civic Reception at the Town Hall, a Gala Dinner hosted by Britain’s Got Talent Star Daliso Chaponda, and an ‘Audience With…’ event, featuring conversation with anti-apartheid campaigner Lord Peter Hain, and will conclude in style with the Freedom Festival in Princes Park.
The charity is working in partnership with Liverpool City Council and other supporters include Heritage Lottery Fund UK, Uniglobal Union, Unison North West, The Sovini Group, MSB Solicitors, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Spaine Music Company, Everton FC and housing and regeneration group Torus, the Torus Foundation and the repairs and maintenance company owned by Torus, HMS.
Sonia Bassey, Mandela8 Chair said: “We wanted to conclude the visit of Nelson Mandela’s family to Liverpool with something really special and this festival is set to be just that. We’re delighted with the line-up Africa Oyé have put together and can’t wait to see everyone celebrating in Princes Park.”
Dr Maki and Tukwini Mandela said: “We hold a special place in our hearts for Liverpool and its people, and we are really excited to return to see the memorial being made and be involved in a range of special events to celebrate our father and grandfather’s legacy. It is really important that now, more than ever, hope and aspiration is a key part of the legacy we continue to fulfil. We want to share that message with Liverpool when we visit.”
Liverpool City Council made Nelson Mandela Freeman of the City in 1994. For more information on the free festival and other events during Mandela Week, visit the Mandela8 website.