Plans for a permanent memorial to Nelson Mandela in a Liverpool park have been given a significant boost on the fourth anniversary of his death.
UNI Global – a conglomerate of unions representing 20 million workers in the skills and services sectors have announced they are going to be a major supporter.
The Nelson Mandela Memorial Campaign (Mandela8) wants to create a tribute on the lake island at Princes Park to tie in with what would have been his 100th birthday in 2018, and reinstate a bridge link.
The £250k installation will reflect Mandela’s life, his love of gardens and horticulture, his teaching and passion for equality and humanity.
It will also provide space for learning, events and reflection. Integrating Nelson Mandela’s words into the artwork will be a powerful way to tell the narrative and communicate his messages and relevance to Toxteth, Liverpool and wider society today.
The scheme has recently been endorsed by the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the artwork will act as a focal point to embed and advance Nelson Mandela’s legacy and values through the development and delivery of education projects for people of all ages – in social inclusion, community cohesion, anti-terrorism and the importance of citizenship in today’s society.
The city council is also to spend more than £300k restoring the surrounding lake including reinstating the water channel, fixing edging stones, putting in fishing platforms and ecological improvements.
Phillip Jennings, General Secretary, UNI Global Union said: “UNI Global Union fully supports this project which is close to our hearts. We will remember Mandela at our World Congress in Liverpool in June next year.
“In these times of hate, racism and xenophobia, Mandela and the anti-apartheid movement, which unions around the world supported, remain a beacon of truth and hope.
“The bridge and the memorial in Princes Park will stand as part of the legacy from our Liverpool Congress to the people of the city and a link between our world congresses in Cape Town 2014 and Liverpool 2018.”
Councillor Steve Munby, Cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: “The Nelson Mandela Memorial plans have continued to steadily progress and will be an exciting addition to Princes Park and help attract more people to spend time there.
“He was made a Freeman of the City in 1994 and it is very fitting that Liverpool should be aiming to honour him. Plans to improve the area surrounding the memorial are in progress.”
The scheme is supported by Liverpool City Council, the North West TUC and National Museums Liverpool.
Mandela8 Chair, Lynn Collins, said: “We very much welcome this proposal which will help our aim of creating a unique artwork which will celebrate and commemorate Nelson Mandela’s outstanding achievement for humanity, and will bring visitors and tourists to the park. It will be a fitting legacy and foundation for our educational programmes.
“This city has a long affiliation to Nelson Mandela and the chosen space of the island in Princes Park creates an opportunity to break down barriers, build bridges and create links on many levels connected to humanity and diversity. It is particularly fitting as Nelson Mandela was incarcerated on an island for 18 years of his imprisonment.”