Nelson Mandela sculpture to go up in Ramallah square

Frederik de Klerk and Nelson Mandela shake hands at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January 1992. Credit: World Economic Forum.

( A bronze sculpture of South Africa’s first black president, the late Nelson Mandela, will be erected in a Ramallah square on April 26, the Palestinian radio station Raya reported.

“Ramallah is preparing to receive the sculpture of Mandela, making him our ambassador for freedom and justice. His character tells us that the chains that were once broken by Mandela will be broken by our prisoners,” said Ramallah’s mayor, Musa Hadid.

The six-meter (20-foot) sculpture is a gift from the Johannesburg Municipality to Ramallah, the de facto capital of the disputed Palestinian territories. The two cities have a twinning partnership. 

“The erection of Mandela’s sculpture in Ramallah carries a symbolic significance, since he was an international symbol of peace and a torch to people striving for freedom and liberty,” Hadid said.

Mandela is known to have supported the Palestinians’ statehood quest, but he also endorsed Israel’s right to exist and had close diplomatic ties with the Jewish state. Anti-Israel activists around the world often compare Israeli treatment of the Palestinians to apartheid-era South Africa.

Posted on April 21, 2016 .