China unveiled a bust sculpure of Nelson Mandela at the Beijing Jintai Arts to commemorate 100 years since Mandela’s birth and to mark 20 years of diplomatic relations between South Africa and China.
This year marked the 100th year since the birth of former South African President and human rights activist, Nelson Mandela; globally known and appreciated for his struggles against oppression and the fight against apartheid in South Africa.
The bust and inscription were contributed to by the South Africa Embassy in Beijing and Consulates General in Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Present to honour the unveiling was the SA Minister of Arts and Culture Mr. Nathi Mthethwa alongside other 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.
“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 went further to recount 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. China was also one of the countries 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.”