BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Friday March 31, 2017 – A park honouring late South African and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela has opened at the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies in Barbados.
The Mandela Freedom Park was unveiled during a ceremony this week with Mandela’s eldest grandchild Ndileka, the founder and chair of the Thembekile Mandela Foundation, in attendance.
A thankful Ndileka said those utilizing the facility should do so bearing in mind the responsibilities and the legacies of her grandfather and the others whose murals were erected on the wall of the structure.
“I hope this place can be that place where people come and have a moment of reflection and shut out the noise, because nowadays we are bombarded with a lot of messages,” she said.
“That time of reflection is important because it is what made granddad and people of his generation and people who were imprisoned, come out and be such selfless leaders and be such moral people of integrity.”
The project was the brainchild of Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, the former principal of Cave Hill, now the Vice-Chancellor of UWI.
In a message to the Mandela family he said: “The people of Barbados did not betray you, the people of Barbados did not breach your trust, we have honoured our commitment to you.”
“We planned this moment to illustrate that those reactionary, racist, anti-human, anti-democratic values in our society must never prevail.”
Endorsing the move, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said there are many lessons to be learnt from the life of the late South African leader.
“Sometimes that largeness of heart tends to elude us in our fragile humanity, but that is a lesson from his life that we must embrace, because it is in forgiving that we’re forgiven and what Nelson Mandela did in 1990 after coming out of prison and promoting that Truth and Reconciliation Commission was to put his country above his own personal interest, his own personal concerns,” Stuart said.