Lagos and Asaba last week stood still in commemoration of the goodwill and life of former South African president and Nobel Peace laureate, Nelson Mandela.
Led by the South African Consulate Lagos, the Nelson Mandela Centenary celebrations, was in collaboration with South African Tourism West Africa, United Nations Information Center (UNIC) and National Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) both in Nigeria.
The weeklong activities began with a press briefing on the theme: “Be The Legacy” and the events planned to keep the legacy alive. South African Tourism had major media houses, trade partners, stakeholders and associates in attendance throughout the various activities.
The Consul General, South Africa Consulate in Lagos, Ambassador Darkey Africa, said: “This year is to celebrate and highlight the key role Mandela played in securing freedom of the South Africans, on how Mandela pushed for peace, embraced people of various races and sought for reconciliation despite been imprisoned for 27 years.”
A lecture in honour of Mandela Centenary was held at the NIIA with Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka as the keynote speaker, alongside UNIC Nigeria Director, Mr Roland Kayanja and Prof. Modupe Faseke, all emphasising the numerous leassons worthy of emulation from the life of Madiba. As a highlight, Soyinka recited a beautiful poem he penned in honour of Nelson Mandela titled, And He Said No, following his personal encounters with Madiba. The lecture was followed by a photo exhibition of the life and times of Nelson Mandela at the NIIA Library, with a cultural highlight of a fully dressed Xhosa man and woman representing Nelson Mandela’s traditional attire.
On July 18, to celebrate Mandela’s birthday, the South Africa Tourism West Africa Hub office participated in a 67-minutes cleaning of the Freedom Park, Lagos. This was done with other partners, stakeholders and students from various schools in attendance.
A lecture on the centenary was also held alongside cultural activities that included The Mandela in You drama on the life of Mandela acted by students.
In Asaba, Delta State, there was a tree planting activity at the Mandela Garden where five additional trees were planted, to add to the 95 previously planted on Mandela’s 95th birthday in 2013.
The week came to an end with an elegant South African dinner in honour of Madiba’s 100 years, with the guest of honour, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Secretary General of Commonwealth, who had very close interactions with Mandela, sharing so much of his legacy to be emulated.