The legacy of former President Nelson Mandela was celebrated with a meaningful ceremony at the Mandela Mural Precinct at Thokoza Park in Soweto.
The event took place on Tuesday, 18 July, in commemoration of Nelson Mandela Day, an international day dedicated to honouring the late statesman’s remarkable life and encouraging acts of goodwill. On Mandela’s 90th birthday in 2008, he personally planted a tree at the precinct, and the Mandela Memorial Garden was subsequently designated as a heritage site.
The Campion tree, standing tall and representing unwavering strength, has become a beloved attraction for tourists.Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo organised a tree-planting and wreath-laying ceremony there to pay tribute to the great leader.
The ceremony was attended by esteemed guests, including Executive Mayor Cllr Kabelo Gwamanda, Chairperson of the Section 79 Committee on Community Development Cllr Margaret Arnolds, and City Manager Floyd Brink.
Toddlers from a local nursery school added charm to the event with a heartfelt performance, singing “Happy Birthday, Mandela” with all their might. A total of five trees were planted at the park, with three of them being planted by the delegates themselves. Dressed in green overalls, Cllr Gwamanda enthusiastically joined in the tree-planting, emphasising the significance of Mandela’s sacrifices in the fight for freedom.
In his speech, the executive Mayor highlighted Mandela’s legacy and the responsibility to build vibrant cities and communities. “Nelson Mandela sacrificed his life in many forms to fight for freedom. We’re here to celebrate the legacy of our most significant founding father. A man who sacrificed his life in many forms so that we could have the freedom that we have today. The legacy of Nelson Mandela lives through all of us,” he said.
Cllr Gwamanda expressed his commitment to representing the people of Johannesburg faithfully, stating that Nelson Mandela Day holds a special place in his heart.
“We need to take a position to build our City and communities. Nelson took a long walk to freedom. But we’re here, and ours is to act,” said the Executive Mayor. Cllr Arnolds led the proceedings and concluded with a powerful message of unity, emphasising that only through coming together can people become stronger as a society.
The Thokoza Park ceremony was one of several events held throughout Johannesburg to honour Mandela’s extraordinary contribution to humanity.