Looking At Edinburgh

4 November 2008

Round stairs to Lothian Road

Filed under: Current events, photos, stairs — Tags: , , , — EdinburghEye @ 8:00 am

round stairs next to Lothian Road

This photo is available on Redbubble: Round stairs.

Completely irrelevantly to the photograph: this blog endorses Barack Obama for President.

30 October 2008

Mandela Square that never was

the statue of mother and child

In 1986, the UN Security Council recommended to the member states of the United Nations that they “prohibit the export to South Africa of items which they have reason to believe are destined for the military and/or police forces of South Africa”.

Back then, Nelson Mandela was in jail – he had then been in prison for 23 years. Edinburgh City Council was planning a new square in Lothian Road, and a faction on the Council had resolved to call it Mandela Square, in his honour. (They lost the vote – the new square, which faces the Usher Hall, was named Festival Square, after Edinburgh’s International Festival – which was then to celebrate its 40th anniversary next year, 1947-1987.)

Ann Davidson won the competition run by the Council, and her statue “Woman and Child” was made to represent and to honour all those killed or imprisoned for their stand against apartheid. The woman and her child stand in front of a sketch in bronze of a shanty. The statue was unveiled on 22nd July 1986 by Suganya Chetty, a member of the African National Congress then living in exile in Edinburgh.

For those who don’t remember, Mandela was released on 11th February 1990, nearly 27 years after he was sentenced to life imprisonment on 12th June 1964, and on 26th April 1994, the first free elections were held in South Africa: Nelson Mandela became President of the country that had imprisoned him for fighting against apartheid. It still feels like current events to me – but I suppose to many people reading this blog, it’s… history.

The message at the base of the statue, “Victory is Certain”, came true.

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