Press release

Nelson Mandela Statue unveiled by President Faure and Princess Zenani Mandela Dlamini

July 18, 2019

In honour of Nelson Mandela International Day, adopted by the United Nations on Nelson Mandela’s birthday, a statue of the iconic ‘Madiba’ was unveiled today by President Danny Faure and HRH Princess Zenani Mandela Dlamini, daughter of Nelson Mandela and High Commissioner of South Africa to Seychelles.

The 3 meter tall bronze statue, sculpted by the acclaimed South African sculptor Jean Doyle, is symbolic of the legacy that Nelson Mandela left behind in his contribution to democracy, equality, and his inspiration to all who opposed oppression and deprivation.

The ceremony which took place at the Peace Park, in Victoria, saw the attendance of many high ranking government officials, members of the national assembly and of the diplomatic and consular corps, amongst others. A special acknowledgement was given to the key dignitaries from South Africa who were in attendance, namely HRH, Mr. K.E Mahoi, the Director General of the Department of Foreign Affairs of South Africa and his delegation, and Mr. Shaun Johnson, Executive Director of The Mandela Rhodes Foundation.  

The guest of honour, HRH Princess Zenani Mandela Dlamini, delivered a very touching tribute to her iconic father. She began by saying “Today, the people of this beautiful island nation join all South Africans, and the rest of the world in commemorating the Nelson Mandela International Day. It is therefore a proud moment for me today to join you for this auspicious occasion, on the grounds where two giants (referring also to Sir James Mancham statue) of our great nations now stand.”

The Princess further added “Today’s event is a culmination of the 100th Year Anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela as well as the Silver Jubilee for the relations between South Africa and Seychelles. Allow me, to take this opportunity during this important occasion to re-affirm South Africa’s commitment to bonds between our two countries.”

“South Africans believe that we are blessed to have an icon like Mandela. The whole world is blessed to share Mandela with us. Let’s continue to preserve the name of Nelson Mandela and his legacy. Let his legacy live-on for thousands of years to come,” concluded HRH.

During a brief interlude, the Mahé Chamber Choir entertained the crowd with a beautiful medley of South African music, which included the famous ‘Asimbonanga’ composed by the recently deceased Johnny Clegg, in honour of Nelson Mandela.

Vice President Meriton followed with a very fitting and personal homage as he recalled his teenage years “growing up being very much aware of the Apartheid regime in South Africa and of Nelson Mandela, the freedom fighter, the larger than life figure and his struggles for the freedom of his people.”

VP went on to highlight the core attributes that made Mandela his personal hero and how “Mandela’s ‘moral courage’ became an inspiration to the world, signifying the yearning for justice, for freedom and liberty.”

“As an African nation, we too have gone through periods of racial inequality and have struggled to attain equal rights for all our citizens.  I believe our past leaders were also inspired by Mandela and persevered in their quest for a Seychelles not divided in its racial/ethnic differences but rather to be a unified nation,” added VP Meriton.

Reiterating President Danny Faure’s message at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit which he attended ahead of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York last year, he added:

“It is not enough that we preach the great ideals for which he stood and practiced. We have an unprecedented opportunity as leaders to ensure that we govern with the philosophies of peace and equitable progress he championed.”

Calling attention to the main events in Mandela’s life, from his 27 years imprisonment to being elected the first black President of South Africa, and winning the Nobel Peace Prize, VP Meriton truly captured the essence and the importance of this special day.

VP concluded in giving recognition and expressed his sincere appreciation to all those who made this event possible:

To Mr. Craig Heeger of Eden Island whose personal commitment and drive paid a significant contribution towards the success of this event;

To the three Mandela organisations, namely the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and the Mandela Rhodes Foundation, whose Executive Director, Mr. Shaun Johnson’s presence at the ceremony was a representation of all three legacy organisations; and

To the South African High Commission and in particular, HRH Princess Zenani Mandela Dlamini who honoured us with her presence on this special day; and

To the Department of Culture who jointly organised this event with the Department of Foreign Affairs.