A bust sculpture of Nelson Mandela, known as Madiba in South Africa, was unveiled at the Beijing Jintai Arts Museum to commemorate 100 years since Mandela’s birth .
It was also used to mark 20 years of diplomatic relations between South Africa and China.
The bust and inscription were contributed to by the SA Embassy in Beijing and Consulates General in Shanghai and Hong Kong.
SA Minister of Arts and Culture Mr. Nathi Mthethwa was present as a guest of honor alongside other senior government officials.
During the unveiling, the national anthems of the Republic of South Africa and the People’s Republic of China were played, and a number of guests placed flowers under the statue.
2018 marks 100 years since the birth of Nelson Mandela. The former South African President is globally renowned for his selfless contribution to the global struggle against oppression and the fight against apartheid in South Africa.
“Globally, Madiba is renowned for his role as a great negotiator and a living symbol of reconciliation. He is a symbol of unity in a country, South Africa, which is courageously grappling with the legacy of a vicious past,” Mthethwa said during his speech.
He explained that when Mandela and his compatriots were jailed for life in 1964, China was among the countries that sent protest notes and called for their release. Subsequently, China was one of the countries that Mandela visited after his release from prison.
Given the historical ties between South Africa and China, said Mthethwa, it was Mandela who embraced and ultimately promoted the one-China diplomatic policy, which saw South Africa and China establish diplomatic relations on Jan. 1, 1998.
During her speech before the unveiling, Ambassador Dolana Msimang said, “It is most fitting that we celebrate our 20 year anniversary together with Madiba’s centenary, as he was the main architect who built, shaped and nurtured our relations with China.”
She went on to say that South Africa and China have since forged an outstanding partnership that has grown immensely over two decades, even though it’s a young relationship. “Our friendship and collaboration with China has profusely strengthened and deepened in the past two decades. We share common interests in numerous global affairs, enabling us to cooperate and strengthen the voice of developing countries in our goal of achieving a balanced political and economic global order.”
“To this end, we thank the Chinese government and its people for the unwavering support during our struggle for liberation, and for honoring Madiba among other great world leaders,” noted Mthethwa.