In the name of Madiba

2010-07-17 00:00

SOUTH Africans who revere Nelson Mandela as a hero may not realise that many people all over the world share their admiration for Madiba. An Internet search reveals a wide array of things — from streets and parks, statues and gardens to an insect and flowers — named after the great man. Here are just a few of them.


Several things have come to be associated uniquely with Madiba as part of his personal trademark. Every best-dressed man should have a Madiba shirt in his wardrobe — a batik silk shirt with a mandarin collar. Originally designed for him by Capetonian Desré Buirski, he first wore one at the dress rehearsal of the opening of the first democratic Parliament in May 1994. And don’t forget to wear it outside your pants — never, never tucked in.

Then there’s the Madiba Jive, a slight shuffling of his feet accompanied by swaying elbows that Mandela was often pictured doing on stages across the world in his younger days. Coming down off the World Cup high we could all do with a bit of Madiba Magic — the good vibes that he seems to bring with him wherever he goes.


Although there are statues of Madiba all over the world, three are particularly well-known. At the entrance of Groot Drakenstein Prison outside Cape Town, from where he was released, is a statue that depicts him in a suit, with his clenched fist raised, as he was on Sunday, February 11, 1990, when he walked out of what was then Victor Verster Prison. Another can be found outside the Royal Festival Hall on London’s Parliament Square, the idea of the late anti-apartheid activist, Donald Woods. Perhaps the best known, a six-metre high bronze structure, towers over Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton.


The great man also has streets named after him all over the globe, with Nelson Mandela roads in Greenwich, London, New Delhi, India and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The one in Lesotho leads to Katse. You can take a drive down Nelson Mandela Avenue in Dakar, Senegal, and Harare, Zimbabwe. Nelson Mandela Drive can be found in Pretoria, Umtata, Bloemfontein and Rustenburg, and there’s also a Mandela Route, which runs through areas associated with his childhood in the Eastern Cape. The Anti-Apartheid Movement has its headquarters on Mandela Street in London, while Nelson Mandela Street can also be found in Cardiff, Wales, and Glasgow in Scotland celebrates him with a Nelson Mandela Place. Google Earth will find you Mandela Way in Southwark, London or New Delhi, India.


Given his passionate interest in education, it’s not surprising that Mandela has several educational facilities named after him. UKZN’s Durban campus is home to the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine and Port Elizabeth is home to Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, named after the area Nelson Mandela Bay, which takes in Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage and Despatch. Children in places as diverse as Canada and Germany go to schools named after him: Nelson Mandela School in Berlin, Germany, and Mandela Park Public School in Toronto. Nelson Mandela Primary can also be found in Birmingham, England. In 2002, Rhodes University in Grahamstown named a student residence after him: Nelson Mandela Hall.

The prestigious Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford has been renamed the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship and the Commonwealth has a Mandela Trade Union Scholarship.


IF you are looking for a place to soak up the winter sun, you can do it in city squares named after Mandela all over the world. One such is the square in front of the South African mission to the United Nations in New York, known as Nelson and Winnie Mandela Plaza. There is also a Nelson Mandela Square in Clayes-sous-Bois, France, and our very own Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton. Nuremberg Platz in Germany was renamed Nelson Mandela Platz.

An example to make you shake your head is gardens that are actually a building: Nelson Mandela Gardens in Leeds is the Civic Hall. London also has a housing development and two other buildings named for him. The British love their age-old tradition of speaker’s corners, and the corner in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, was renamed Nelson Mandela Corner.

Port Elizabeth in Nelson Mandela Bay has the Nelson Mandela Stadium, which hosted World Cup games, and one of the most-photographed bridges in Johannesburg is Nelson Mandela Bridge in the CBD. He also has a park named after him in Leicester, England.

South Africa appears to have quite a few museums honouring his name, like the Nelson Mandela Family Museum in Soweto, where he used to live, and Nelson Mandela Museums in Qunu and Umtata. Then there is the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum in PE.

It seems eating places haven’t neglected to remember Madiba either. There’s a Mandela Cafe in Copenhagen, Denmark, and a Madiba restaurant in Brooklyn, New York.


In addition, Mandela has some rather out-of-the-ordinary things named after him, like the Mandela Particle, a nuclear particle discovered by scientists at the University of Leeds in 1973. Malawi has a 200 Kwacha Nelson Mandela stamp and there’s a yellow variety of Strelitzia called Strelitzia reginae aiton or Mandela’s Gold. The National Orchid Garden in Singapore named an orchid in honour of his visit in 1997: Varapanda nelson mandela. A native South African trapdoor spider is called the Stasimopus mandelai, while another in Botswana is Singafrotypa mandela. There’s even a seaslug that occurs along the Cape coast called Mandelia microcornata. South Africa’s ex-president also seems to be mentioned in quite a few songs, like Simple Minds’ Mandela Day (1990).

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