The Nelson Mandela Memorial and Museum will unveil a plaque for its founder and former president on Tuesday, the first time the country’s largest art museum will honour a political figure.
Key points:The plaque will be unveiled in front of the memorial’s famous “The Truth” muralThe plaque reads: “I would like to pay my respects to Nelson to the memory of our leader”The memorial and museum was established in the late 1960s and is a centre of political protest and freedom of expression in South Africa.
Its main museum, the Nelson Mandela Museum, was established to commemorate the political leader who was shot dead by security forces in 1994.
Nelson Mandela is now one of the world’s most celebrated political leaders and has been commemorated on a massive plaque at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA).
In 2009, it became the first art museum to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama, after the museum unveiled a large painting of the man in a wheelchair.
Mr Mandela was one of South Africa’s longest-serving presidents, serving as a parliamentarian from 1981 until 1992 and a first lady from 1993 to 2007.
The new plaque, which will be presented to Mr Mandela’s wife, Miriam, at the museum’s opening ceremony, is the first of its kind.
“This is a very important moment in the history of our country, the South African National Congress, and this is a moment for the people of South Australia to pay respect to Nelson,” museum chief executive officer John Coughlan said.
“It is also a very symbolic moment for our country because we are celebrating a very significant milestone in our history, the day when Nelson Mandela became our president.”
Mr Coughlon said the plaque would also mark the museum as a place for artists to gather.
“We’re going to give this a real high-profile presentation, with a very high profile and a real honour and we are going to do it in front, with an enormous crowd,” he said.
The plaque is due to be unveiled at the MOMA on Tuesday evening, with the unveiling to be broadcast live on TV by Channel Ten.
The ceremony will also feature the first ever public service announcement by Mr Mandela himself.
“I think that this will be a very powerful moment for South Africa and a very moving moment for everyone involved, including the South Africans,” Mr Coughlin said.
Mr Cufflan said Mr Mandela was “the most popular leader” of his generation, and had had a profound impact on his people’s lives.
“And this is an opportunity for the museum and the people to show him that they are also proud of his contribution,” he added.
“They are also celebrating the significance of his legacy and his legacy of being a leader of freedom.”
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