Palestinians welcome Mandela’s long statue!

Breaking barriers. The Nelson Mandela statue is the first to be erected in Ramalla.

On Tuesday‚ Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau was joined by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas‚ his counterpart in Ramallah‚ Mousa Hadid‚ and officials of the South African embassy in unveiling the statue of former president Nelson Mandela.

The president’s six-metre statue will tower over the suburb of Al-Titherah facing the president’s palace and also the Apartheid Wall built by Israel government to separate the people of Palestine.

The wall‚ over 800 kilometres‚ stands a few kilometres from the statue as a reminder of the struggles that the people of Palestine face on a daily basis as they are restricted to move around in their own land.

The statue was created by South African artists Lungisa Khala‚ Christina Salvodi and Tanya Lee‚ and funded by the City of Johannesburg.

The statue‚ took the artists seven months to produce and it will be placed at a traffic circle on high land for all the people of Palestine to see.

The area is also undergoing development and has already been named the Mandela Square.

Tau said the unveiling of the statue was relevant to the people of Johannesburg as their freedom came from international solidarity.

“Our freedom did not come because of South Africans but also the solidarity of people from other parts of the world‚” Tau said.

Tau said to the world‚ Mandela represented a message of resilience‚ hope and courage which said one could overcome even the most powerful regime through the correctness of the views that one represented.

“We need to ask ourselves that is it justifiable for the people of Palestine to live in the bondage that they live in and are we going to sit back and watch.

“Are we going to sit back and witness a wall that separates people from their farm land‚ villages from towns. Is it correct to do that? How else do you address this than bringing the symbol of a man that represents the resilience.

“That is why we are bringing him here. This is the man that represents the aspirations of the people of Palestine.”

In downtown Ramallah‚ the people were excited that “the biggest friend of the people of Palestine” was finally in town.

Ruba Aburoqtti one of the Ramallah residents expressed her joy: “The history and the story of South Africa is the best example that we can learn as Palestinians. Mandela the leader is a model that taught the world about peace and freedom.

“We feel as Palestinians that it is our honour to have the statue of Mandela in Ramallah. We will definitely have very positive vibes that will come out of this statue going back and forth next to the statue.”

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