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10 Powerful Ways the World Still Honors Nelson Mandela

There's no doubt South African leader Nelson Mandela, who was born 100 years ago on July 18, was revered by global citizens. Curious about this anti-Apartheid activist's legacy? Here is what you need to know about one of our most inspirational politicians in contemporary times.

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Cape Town, South Africa

A life-size bronze statue of Nelson Mandela will be unveiled in late July along with a permanent exhibit about Mandela’s life, is in a very important spot: in front of Cape Town’s City Hall. It’s from this building’s balcony in 1990 that Mandela gave a speech to 50,000 people upon his release from Victor Verser Prison after 27 years of confinement. A sculpture by artist Bill Davis (shown) was installed in City Hall in 2015. You’ll be moved by this collection of Mandela’s most inspiring quotes.


Howick KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Many travel to Howick KwaZulu-Natal to view the scenic Howick Falls waterfall, but cultural enthusiasts and history buffs are attracted to this sculpture at the Nelson Mandela Capture Site, created by Marco Cianfanelli. Replacing a small plaque once on the site, this bust sculpture—in concert with 50 steel columns—commemorates Mandela’s nearby arrest on August 5, 1962, for his anti-apartheid convictions. Mandela had previously avoided arrest for 17 months prior to being flagged down in a car he was driving by police. A temporary exhibition about Mandela’s life is also on the property.

Shawn Thew/Epa/Shutterstock

South African Embassy, Washington, D.C.

In 2013, this nearly 10-foot-tall bronze statue of Mandela—with his right fist in the air, designed by Jean Doyle—debuted in front of the South African Embassy in our nation’s capital. This is the same embassy where Randall Robinson, author and activist, was arrested along with three other activists in 1984 after staging a protest over Mandela’s imprisonment. The statue is a near replica of the one at Drakenstein Correctional Center in South Africa. Don’t miss these inspiring quotes from famed American Civil Rights activist, Martin Luther King, Jr.


Soweto, South Africa

This Johannesburg suburb is home to the red-brick Mandela House, where Mandela’s family lived from 1946 to the 1990s and not far from where Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a fellow anti-apartheid activist, currently resides. Mandela donated the property to the city in 1997 and deemed it a museum. In 1999 it was declared a national monument by the National Monument Council of South Africa.

Courtesy Phil Akashi

Shanghai, China

Phil Akashi’s “Tribute to Mandela” debuted in Shanghai’s Graffiti Park in 2013 in honor of Mandela’s 95th birthday. Akashi created the portrait with traditional Chinese ink and stamps of the Chinese character for “freedom” attached to boxing gloves. He punched the canvas 27,000 times to create imprints to form Mandela’s face. Why 27,000? To mark the 27 years Mandela served in prison. Akashi lost 15 pounds from all the boxing.

C. Na Songkhla/Shutterstock

Statue of Nelson Mandela, Johannesburg, South Africa

Kobus Hattingh and Jacob Maponyane were commissioned to create this larger-than-life statue of Mandela. Unveiled in 2004, after two years of design, the 20-foot tall likeness is located in Nelson Mandela Square in front of a shopping center. With a grin on his face, the statue marks a happy moment: the tenth anniversary of South Africa’s first democratic elections.


Paarl, South Africa

Mandela was imprisoned for the final 14 months of his 27-year sentence at Drakenstein Correctional Center, formerly called Victor Verster Prison, on the Western Cape of South Africa. Jean Doyle’s larger-than-life statue of Mandela—which debuted in 2008 and features his likeness with a raised fist—now serves as a cultural attraction, that educates about the apartheid movement and the anti-apartheid efforts of Mandela and others. The statue is on the exact location where Mandela took his first steps out of the prison as a free man on February 11, 1990.


Nelson Mandela Statue, London, England

In 2007, at the unveiling of this 9-foot tall statue in Parliament Square, Nelson Mandela said of his bronze likeness, “Though this statue is of one man, it should in actual fact symbolize all those who have resisted oppression, especially in my country,” according to The Telegraph. It was created by Ian Walters, an English sculptor who died the year before the official unveiling. Want more inspiration from Mandela? Read our exclusive 2005 interview with him.

Courtesy Menisha Moses

Nelson Mandela Boulevard, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Mandela made many trips to Toronto, including in 1990—the year of his release from jail—when a march was held in his honor and he spoke in front of thousands in Queen’s Park. In 2015, the city of Toronto renamed the stretch of University Avenue where the march took place (between Front Street West and College Street) Nelson Mandela Boulevard. Here are some ways you can use your own passions to make a difference.

Courtesy Mandela Forum

Florence, Italy

A glass reproduction of Mandela’s former prison cell, named Mandela Memorial, debuted on February 14, 2018, in front of Mandela Forum in Florence, a sports and events arena. The 7.5′ x 8.5′ cell holds a bucket and a rug, similar to the ones in the cell where Mandela was imprisoned from 1964 to 1982 on Robben Island. At the unveiling earlier this year, The Florentine reported that Mandela’s granddaughter Ndileka Mandela, said, “One of the things that Nelson Mandela said to me when I was little is that the cell gave him the possibility to find the energy that each of us has inside. I believe that we are all responsible, especially those who have the responsibility of government, to seek this energy to pursue our dreams.” Throughout this year, Mandela Forum—which was renamed in 2004 to honor Mandela—will host events commemorating Mandela. Read on for 14 inspiring quotes about democracy.

Kristine Hansen
Based in Milwaukee, and a former Californian, Kristine Hansen is the author of Wisconsin Cheese Cookbook: Creamy, Cheesy, Sweet, and Savory Recipes from the State's Best Creameries (Globe Pequot Press) and writes about food/drink, travel and art/design for outlets that include--in addition to,, and She earned a bachelor's degree in English, with a focus on writing, from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and enjoys yoga, reading, knitting and hiking.

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