A new mural of a community champion and photographer has appeared in Liverpool

A new mural of community champion and photographer Leroy Cooper has appeared in Liverpool.

The artwork created by John Culshaw, famous for his range of murals across the City of Liverpool, was commissioned by local charity Mandela8, and has added to Granby Street’s growing status as a cultural arts corridor of Liverpool 8.

Locals have seen the mural develop day-by-day on the feature wall of the Ganby Adult Learning Centre with a wave of excitement building over the past few weeks until its completion. The end result is a stunning tribute with a strong message from Leroy himself:  “My work is my legacy, photographs, painting, poetry and philosophy…. Self respect and dignity… But… love is everything”.  

Sonia Bassey MBE, Chair of Mandela8 said: “This has been a while in development behind the scenes.  Leroy Cooper was an innovative and creative man, way ahead of his time in his thinking, and he documented the people of Liverpool – Liverpool 8 in particular – for over 40 years. There is no other photographic records of the Black community like Leroy’s and that deserves recognition. The stunning mural of Leroy adds to the work Mandela8 has been doing to change the face and fabric of Liverpool 8 and how it’s perceived. It is a fitting tribute to Leroy and his family, installed before the first anniversary of his passing. May Leroy continue to rest in peace and his family take comfort in knowing Leroy was well respected in our community and will always be remembered for his work and ability to hold love in his heart.

We are delighted that Liverpool City Council allowed us to use this wall for the mural. John Clushaw is an amazingly talented artist, and it has been a privilege for Mandela8 to work with him again. We have already seen a real excitement about the work developing and we envisage –  like all John’s work – it will become another major attraction for visitors”.  

The completion of the new mural comes ahead of the anniversary of Leroy’s passing and as his family have just been informed that Leroy’s photographic exhibition in the Museum of Liverpool has been extended for a further 6 months.  

Stephen Nze, Mandela8 Ambassador, who has been leading site management said:  “It’s been a pleasure and an honour for us at Mandela8 and for me personally to have worked on this project of one of the most influential individuals of my generation and our community, and it is fitting that it is located on Granby Street where a lot of Leroy’s influences and creativity and artwork were manifested and then unleashed on our city. Leroy was a one of a kind, and we all knew him and he knew us all.Rest easy bro in that cosmic heavenly universe”.

Leroy’s Family said: “As a family, we are extremely proud and honoured that Leroy has been recognised in this way. This mural is a perfect way to represent and pay homage to Leroy’s contribution to his art, community and Liverpool. As a creative, Leroy would have been immensely proud that his peers, friends and community have paid tribute in this manner and we as his family are eternally grateful to the people of L8 and proud of the artistic achievement Leroy accomplished in his life. We hope this mural can inspire a younger generation to follow their passions the same way Leroy followed his because he never stopped dreaming and he would want the next generation to dream equally as big. 

John Culshaw, Artistsaid: “ I didn’t know anything about Leroy until not long before he passed. When I painted the Nelson Mandela piece, Leroy got in touch with me, to congratulate me and we had a little chat on the internet. I thought Leroy was a cool, interesting guy. When Sonia and Nze approached me about the mural, I had to do a lot of research and speak to a lot of people who knew him. It was after doing all this research I realised just how important he was to not only the L8 community, but the whole city.  As an artist today I am lucky to have the luxury of social media, meaning I can reach a huge audience, making it so much easier to forge a career from my passion. Leroy decided to follow his passion a long time before any of this help. He followed his dream and is an inspiration to all young artists coming through. His work is a perfect example, that if you do what you love, you will produce quality and that will be recognised. Leroy’s work has seen him become woven into the fabric of this city and more importantly become part of its history. This mural will stand in the heart of Leroy’s community and serve as a reminder to those who knew him, how one man can have such an impact on the world. For those who don’t know Leroy, I hope the mural will make them want to look him up, because his story is inspirational and will help a lot of people.”

A man standing in front of artwork being sold at a market stall.

Follow the artist, John Culshaw, on his Instagram page @john_culshaw86 and for more information on Mandela8, please visit mandela8.org.uk.

Photo: Daniel Cooper

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An L8 charity that runs a restorative justice programme for young people has announced a new partnership with two Merseyside businesses.

Housing association, Plus Dane Housing and general building contractors, Penny Lane Builders will both lend their support to Mandela8’s Roots & Wings programme in 2024, delivered in partnership with Taking Shape Association.

Roots & Wings supports young people who lack positive role models and are at risk of criminal exploitation, as well as those who are experiencing violent crime or live in fear of violent crime on a daily basis.

The programme has been running annually since 2020 and has seen 28 young people graduate from the scheme, earning a total of 72 AQA qualifications between them in the process. The project is supported by Mandela8 patron, LFC and England international, Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Sonia Bassey MBE, Chair of Mandela8, said: “These young people live in areas of high deprivation with high levels of crime and are frequently disengaged from school and at risk of permanent exclusion from school. We are delighted to see our programme supported by businesses that are part of the infrastructure of our communities.

Working together to develop cohesive solutions is critical to the opportunities for our young people and sustainable communities. It is great to have the support of Plus Dane Group and Penny Lane Builders who both started out in Liverpool 8 and is a really positive way forward for us all”.

The programme includes restorative justice practices and aims to find enduring solutions to prevent young people from becoming involved in crime and violence and supports them to recognise consequences; understand cause and effect; reduce naivety; and increase their resilience and strength to ‘not get involved’.

Roots and Wings also supports cultural change around the acceptability of carrying weapons and succumbing to peer pressure.

Plus Dane Chief Executive, Ian Reed, said:“I am really pleased to be supporting the Mandela8 Roots and Wings programme. We started in L8, with 400 terraced homes in 1976 and we continue to invest in the area today. Supporting this inspirational programme, helping young people in the communities we serve, is a perfect match for us. Working together we want to help steer young people away from crime and create a vibrant, safe community for generations to come.” 

Penny Lane Builders, Chief Executive, Gerard McEvoy, said: “At PLB we started our business in 1996 in the L8 area.  Today we still work predominantly in the Liverpool area and we care about the success of our local communities.  Part of our investment in the success of the communities is that we support innovative programmes that have real impact.  We are proud to support young people in the Liverpool area via the Roots and Wings Young Leaders Programme and look forward to watching the young people progress over the 12 weeks.”

Kevin Stuart from Taking Shape Association said“Roots & Wings is not just about giving these kids good experience with quality intervention and love. We support community empowerment by changing mindsets and shaping futures without compromise, which they deserve.”

Stephen Nze, Mandela8 Ambassador said: “To see the young people who come on the Roots and Wings programme and having a understanding of the young people and why they have joined – it’s great to see how they engage with Kevin and the team, and the difference it has made to many of those young minds; how they think about themselves, their families, and wider society. It’s incredible to see. Thanks to all who support this programme and support the young people and their families who we engage. It does make a difference.”

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Pictured: (Left to Right) Mandela8 Ambassador, Stephen Nze; Nelson Mandela’s daughter, Dr Makaziwe Mandela; Mandela8 Chair, Sonia Bassey MBE; and new Mandela8 Trustee, David Brown.)

Liverpool charity Mandela8 have announced their newest trustee to join the organisation’s Board.

David Brown has over 35 years of experience working in Social Housing both locally in Liverpool and across the UK in a varied career.

Currently Director of Pine Court Housing Association, Brown has held several Non-Executive Director roles in Black-led organisations and community projects including the Toxteth Tigers Community Mentoring programme – working with local disadvantaged young people primarily from a BME background – Mandela House supported housing project for young BME people in Liverpool, and Arawak Walton Housing Association based in Manchester, delivering housing and community services to local BME communities.

Brown will join Mandela8 as a trustee following the official opening of the new memorial to Nelson Mandela in Princes Park, L8 this past July. Brown also joined current Mandela8 Board members and ambassadors at Hatchards in London last month to celebrate the launch of a new book written by Dr Makaziwe Mandela (daughter of Nelson) and attend a Black History Month themed Q&A panel.

Chair of Mandela8, Sonia Bassey MBE said: “We are delighted that David has agreed to join our Board at Mandela8. He is committed to anti-racism and inclusion and comes from a family of local activists. His leadership, mentorship and management qualifications will make him a valued member of our team as we enter a new era for the charity following the memorial’s completion this year.”

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We are less than a week away from achieving what was a dream 10 years ago.  Tuesday the 18th July is a day for celebration to realise that dream when we launch a memorial to Nelson Mandela.

This memorial has been achieved through years of hard work, determination and a lengthy consultation with the Mandela family, the local community, residents of Princes Park and civic leaders.

What was fundamental to us throughout this consultation was that the memorial signified the pride and respect the community have in Liverpool for Nelson Mandela and what he achieved in fighting for social justice.  The memorial signifies a place where people can come to learn, reflect and feel proud of what can be achieved when communities come together from different parts of the world.

We fully recognised that to achieve our goal of installing this memorial that everybody’s voice mattered and that is why we undertook extensive consultation throughout each stage of the development. 

In 2019 we launched the memorial, and we went through a formal planning process in which the impact on wildlife and animals was considered.  It is with great sadness that we have to notify people that objections have been raised at this very late stage by somebody concerned for the environment.  

We do not dispute that these issues are raised out of a genuine passion for wildlife.  However, we are extremely concerned that this issue may now be hijacked by far-right groups who will use this platform to bring disruption to this special day.  

Mandela8 would like to assure everybody, that the impact of the memorial on wildlife and the environment was fully considered throughout the consultation process. There are things we have put in place which have encouraged the wildlife in the area to thrive; but fundamentally Princes Park is an inner-city park in an area where many people do not have access to a garden or open space.

We ask that everybody who attends the event embraces this special day in recognition of Nelson Mandela who is an icon to us.  Please stand beside us and share our passion to educate people to love not hate.

Mandela8 Board of Directors

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Why a Nelson Mandela Memorial at Princes Park?

The vision brought together by Mandela8 following the death of Nelson Mandela in December 2013 was to see a permanent artwork established in the Liverpool 8 area to celebrate and commemorate Nelson Mandela’s outstanding achievement for humanity and the strong links between Liverpool and South Africa. The decision to locate the memorial in the Joseph Paxton designed Grade II listed Prince’s Park followed local consultation and engagement processes and an open design tender. The memorial reflects not only the meaningful legacy of Nelson Mandela but the significant history of anti-apartheid activism in Liverpool, further detail of which can be found at Mandela8. This was reflected in the establishment of the Sunburst Gates, a key listed feature in Princes Park, as the location for a temporary memorial to his legacy following his death.

It is an exciting opportunity to showcase a significant artwork and memorial that will be integral to the process of change and promotion of diversity, humanity and equality: key principles that Nelson Mandela campaigned for all his life. The memorial design reflects an outdoor classroom to educate people of all ages about humanity, social justice and how to celebrate each other for our differences. A fundamental element of this education will also be environmental education, including the work done by ourselves, Liverpool City Council, Friends of Princes Park and others to improve the park, protect the wildlife, increase the wildlife, and continuing to value and protect wildlife in a cohabited space. Working with a range of people and organisations we want the space to be a place of cohesion and education.

Nelson Mandela cultivated a garden from 16 oil barrels when he was in Pollsmoor prison.

“A garden was one of the few things in prison that one could control. To plant a seed, watch it grow, to tend it and then harvest it, offered a simple but enduring satisfaction. The sense of being the custodian of this small patch of earth offered a small taste of freedom. In some ways, I saw the garden as a metaphor for certain aspects of my life. A leader must also tend his garden; he, too, plants seeds, and then watches, cultivates, and harvests the result. Like the gardener, a leader must take responsibility for what he cultivates; he must mind his work, try to repel enemies, preserve what can be preserved, and eliminate what cannot succeed.”

— Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

Who are Mandela8?

Mandela8 started as a campaign in the Liverpool 8 community after Nelson Mandela’s passing. This campaign grew and Mandela8 was formally established as a charity in 2017. Mandela8’s initial vision was to see an internationally recognised permanent artwork that functioned as a unique space for education, performance, conversation and contemplation established within a Toxteth Liverpool 8 heritage site, to celebrate, commemorate and pursue the legacy of Nelson Mandela’s outstanding achievement for humanity. Since its establishment Mandela8 have delivered and supported a number of initiatives in L8 and beyond including the annual My 67 Minutes programme (where people give 67 minutes of their time to do acts of kindness for others representing the 67 years Nelson Mandela fought for social justice and human rights); the Roots & Wings programme for young people at risk of criminal exploitation; the introduction of the Mandela Field of Hope (a wildflower meadow established in the park during Covid 19 (securing all funding) to enhance biodiversity and provide both habitat and sources of food for wildlife and a colourful visual display for park visitors); The Angela Holligan Book Collection and the development of the Princes Avenue Steps Scheme.

More details about Mandela8, their work in the community and their patrons can be found at mandela8.org.uk

What is Nelson Mandela’s connection to Liverpool?

Liverpool was an active city in anti-apartheid, boycotting South African goods and campaigning to free Nelson Mandela from prison, with local activists in Liverpool 8, union representatives and others being involved. Liverpool held the first Freedom Festival for Nelson Mandela in Liverpool 8. Liverpool City Council gave Nelson Mandela the Freedom of the City in 1994.

Nelson Mandela’s importance to Liverpool is huge. In Toxteth, Liverpool 8, Mandela remains a highly significant role model to the community. In the 1980s Liverpool 8 was tireless in its support of the anti-apartheid struggle through demos, product boycotts, park runs and the Free Nelson Mandela Campaign.

Apartheid (apartness) was a brutal system of racial segregation and white supremacy in South Africa. The world-wide anti-apartheid movement grew throughout the ’60s ’70s and ’80s in its support for Black South Africans and other minority groups living under this oppressive system. This support was inspired by figures like Nelson Mandela, whose eventual rise from political prisoner to the first Black President of South Africa, turned him into a global icon for freedom and equality.

To find out more about some of the strong connections between the city’s Black community, Nelson Mandela and the anti-apartheid movement please visit the display at the Museum of Liverpool’s Our City, Our Stories programme, a partnership programme which enables local people to represent their own interpretation of the museum’s themes and objects. This display was created in partnership with the Mandela8 group. Liverpool 8 Against Apartheid | National Museums Liverpool (liverpoolmuseums.org.uk)

What will the memorial look like?

The designs for the memorial – as depicted on the project signage displayed in the park since July 2020 – are inspired by Mandela’s gardens at Robben Island and Pollsmoor Prison. His gardens were symbols of resistance, tools for resilience, spaces for reflection and platforms for community. The food grown in Mandela’s gardens provided a resource to counter the food inequality linked to racial discrimination in the prison system, which provided less nutritious rations to non-white prisoners, and offered Mandela an opportunity to gain trust with prison guards and wardens. He resourcefully bartered the food he grew for study materials, including the language studies which gave him a voice in the room when it came to prisoner rights, and later, key diplomatic negotiations.

The therapeutic and purposeful act of gardening helped Mandela keep focus, resilience and resolve through nearly three decades of prison. And not only did Mandela’s Garden at Robben Island provide a space for dialogue, political discussion and debates, but it gave cover to hide Mandela’s

original manuscripts while the copies were smuggled off Robben Island. These texts, written collectively by Mandela and his comrades in prison, formed the basis of Long Walk to Freedom, as well as his public speeches and words which have moved the world.

The Princes Park scheme includes a new ‘Freedom Bridge’, pavilion and 32 cylindrical stonework pedestals inscribed with inspirational Mandela quotes, chosen through consultation:

Who designed the Mandela Memorial?

Wayward were commissioned by Mandela8 following an open design commission exercise to develop the Memorial, in consultation with local communities and stakeholders. The commission sought to marry the legacy of Mandela with the heritage of L8 and the grade 2* listed Princes Park designed by Joseph Paxton. The final design has many synergies with Nelson Mandela’s journey:The Memorial will be installed on the island in Princes Park Lake and Nelson Mandela was incarcerated on Robben island for 18 years;The Island was previously connected to the mainland in the Park by a bridge and before the lake improvement in 2020 was often accessible due to low water levels. Nelson Mandela’s life works and struggles were all about building bridges, connecting people and breaking down barriers;The Memorial will be installed in a garden setting and Nelson Mandela established gardens in Pollsmoor prison as it was one of the few things he could control;

The Memorial will be made of limestone and limestone was the stone Nelson Mandela quarried in prison;

How have the community been engaged in its development?

What measures will be put in place to ensure wildlife are protected on the island once the memorial is installed?

Mandela8 have always been open to discussion about the memorial. The memorial will be a place where we expect users to be respectful of the space as a place for cohabitation by wildlife and people. The memorial will be a wonderful space for us to education people about humanity and social justice and peace. It is an outdoor classroom, designed to be used by schoolchildren, so offers significant opportunity to educate young people about the environment and how to protect it and all living things on it.

How has the project been funded?

The memorial has primarily been funded using allocations from planning contributions made by developers (known as section 106 agreements). These contributions are made to improve Liverpool open spaces and allocated by Liverpool City Council to open spaces in the vicinity of contributing developments. In addition Mandela8 have been actively fundraising and have been successful in receiving a Heritage Lottery Grant for their engagement and education programmes and sponsorship and donations from a range of Mandela8 supporters.

What works are being undertaken?

In order to create the final memorial there are a number of activities being undertaken off and on site by specialist contractors. Offsite we have the fabrication of the bridge; the creation of the 32 cylindrical stoneworks; bespoke engraving and the production of the limestone cladding. On site there will be the installation of the foundations; installation of temporary platforms; the siting of the 32 cylinders on the island; installation of the final bridge; stone cladding and paving plus the pathway connections. The entire programme of works is currently estimated at 12 to 14 weeks and takes into account the Mandela week visit to see progress on site and celebrate the commencement of the memorial.

How are you managing construction work in a parks environment?

Throughout the construction the park will be open to the public however there will be a controlled area for the contractors to operate within. This will include the closure of one pedestrian pathway immediately adjacent to the island. There however will remain access for the public through other routes to still complete a full circuit around the lake. The public will not be permitted within the construction area. A similar process was followed for the major improvement works that happened previously, but on a much larger scale.

What about wildlife during the construction?

When working in a park environments contractors have the same controls around creating safe working places and managing impact including waste as they do in any other development. Whilst the installation of the memorial involves several specialist contractors, the construction area will be led by one lead contractor Horticon who will have the overall responsibility for these controls. There are also additional considerations when working in greenspaces. For the installation of the memorial at Princes Park this includes managing works within a heritage park and impact of wildlife. As part of this immediately prior to commencement on site there will be a final full assessment of bird nesting in and around the island given the legal obligation to not disturb nesting birds. This includes establishing a buffer zone around the construction areas and actively monitoring these throughout the works.

What happens when the memorial is complete?

Once construction is complete the memorial becomes park of the public features of the park and is accessible to the public to view and enjoy. Given the aspiration and design of the memorial the intention is that local schools and groups will utilise the space as an outdoor education space. To book this space in the future please search park events at www.liverpool.gov.uk and contact us directly.

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Mandela Family to lead events promoting diversity in the city

“To think that all the way in Liverpool, what my dad stood for in life still resonates with a lot of people today, emphasises that rarely is social and political transformation an individual effort; often it is a result of an accumulation of forces.” Dr Makaziwe Mandela

In celebration of Nelson Mandela International Day, Mandela8,  Liverpool BID Company, Torus Group and The Big Help Project will host the Mandela Family for the official opening of the Nelson Mandela Memorial and a series of events exploring how the city’s business community can become more diverse, and how the qualities Nelson Mandela exemplified can be part of the city’s business culture. The events, marking the tenth anniversary of the death of the visionary leader, will also explore business partnerships between Liverpool and South Africa. 

Nelson Mandela International Day, on Tuesday 18 July 2023, shines a light on the legacy of a man who changed the 20th century and helped to shape the 21st. The day is used as a moment to renew the values that inspired Nelson Mandela, and to examine how his values should inspire us to take action and make a change. 

Mandela8 was established to commemorate the life of Nelson Mandela through the creation of a permanent memorial in Princes Park, Liverpool 8. This summer it will be unveiled to coincide with Mandela Day. 

The events will include;

The official opening of the memorial in Princes Park

An audience with the Mandela Family at Liverpool Everyman Theatre. A public event and panel discussion hosted by Marcus Ryder MBE and including Dr Maki Mandela & Tukwini Mandela. 

A dinner with North West civic and business leaders, hosted by Downtown Liverpool in Business at Hope Street Hotel

Liverpool BID Company will also be supporting businesses to take up the “Mandela Day  campaign, as championed by the Mandela family. Nelson Mandela spent 67 years of his life fighting for social justice and human rights and on Mandela day we ask you to do an act of kindness for someone else or in your community, to support the campaign.  

Dr Makaziwe Mandela

 “The Mandela8 Memorial to my Father Nelson Mandela is a moving and truly inspirational tribute to the sacrifices he and his comrades made to rid South Africa of the violent apartheid system. Being involved in this journey seeing the stones made and installed has been a very emotional experience for myself and my daughter Tukwini.  To think that all the way in Liverpool, what my dad stood for in life still resonates with a lot of people today, emphasises that rarely is social and political transformation an individual effort; often it is a result of an accumulation of forces. We are looking forward to officially opening the memorial.”

Sonia Bassey MBE, Chair Mandela8  

“We are delighted to be with Dr Maki and Tukwini again when they officially open the memorial.  It will be a significant and emotional moment to see the memorial open and being used as an outdoor classroom to educate people and continue to seek harmony, love and peace in the world based on Nelson Mandela’s values that are still relevant today.
We want people from all over the world to visit the memorial and for its educational properties to be realised by people of all ages across Liverpool and beyond.  We are truly grateful to all our partners.”

Bill Addy, CEO of Liverpool BID Company

“We are proud to be welcoming the Mandela family to Liverpool and for them to lead this series of events, in partnership with Mandela8 helping to shape the city for the future. Our business community should reflect the rich diversity of Liverpool and we continue to work and learn to drive that forward”. 

Leader of Liverpool City Council, Cllr Liam Robinson

“Liverpool is immensely proud of our relationship with the Mandela family. It’s a connection that greatly enriches our civic life and helps to promote a wider understanding of the universal themes of social justice – lessons which are as apt today as they’ve ever been. The unveiling of the memorial at Princes Park on Nelson Mandela International Day will be a red letter day for the city and will further cement the bonds we already have and treasure. It’s heartening to see so many people and organisations involved in this event and underlines how much of an inspiration the great man himself continues to be.”

Cath Murray-Howard, Chief Operating Officer for Torus Group

“Torus Group continues its commitment to collaborate with and build upon diverse neighbourhoods and we are thrilled to once again be part of the momentous work being undertaken by Mandela8. As we celebrate the official opening of the Nelson Mandela Memorial, a milestone that Torus is delighted to have supported, we are reminded of the pride taken in championing initiatives that drive community growth.

“Teams across the Group are dedicated to continue the support being delivered through projects that enhance opportunities, and together, see the memorial as a symbol of unity, resilience while working towards a brighter future for all.”

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Liverpool is preparing to welcome back the family of revolutionary leader Nelson Mandela.

The former President’s eldest daughter Dr Makaziwe ‘Maki’ Mandela and his granddaughter Tukwini Mandela, are travelling to the city to make their mark on artwork which will form part of the city’s permanent Nelson Mandela memorial in Princes Park.

The completed memorial will include a ‘Freedom Bridge’, a pavilion and 32 cylindrical stone-works inscribed with inspirational Mandela quotes. These pedestals represent the oil drums used to grow an allotment on the rooftop of Pollsmoor Prison where Mandela was held for part of his prison sentence. During their six-day trip, the family will visit Crosby Memorials to personally inscribe one of the stone drums.

They will also take part in a series of celebratory and commemorative events including:

The day before the Mandela’s arrival, Liverpool will officially mark Mandela Day (18 July) which will see hundreds of school children parade down Princes Avenue into Princes Park. They will also take part in a number of activities including a picnic, and plans are in place for litter picks, wildflower sowing and a mini-beast-hunt. This day also sees the city host the Commonwealth Games Baton Relay which will also be paraded down the Avenue by nominated baton bearers.

Dr Maki and Tukwini last visited the city in February 2019 to give their blessing to the Princes Park location for the memorial which it is hoped will be completed by the end of the year.

The work will reflect Nelson Mandela’s love of gardens and horticulture along with his struggle for freedom, equality and humanity. The spaces will be used for future activity in the park, acting as a focal point and an area to visit, reflect and educate.

Liverpool City Council made Nelson Mandela Freeman of the City in 1994.

The visit is being organised by Toxteth-based charity Mandela8 which commissioned the official memorial. The charity is working in partnership with Liverpool City Council and other supporters include Heritage Lottery Fund UK, Uniglobal Union, Unison North West, FACT, The Sovini Group, MSB Solicitors, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and housing and regeneration group Torus, the Torus Foundation and the repairs and maintenance company owned by Torus, HMS.

Dr Maki and Tukwini Mandela said:

“We hold a special place in our hearts for Liverpool and its people, and we are really excited to return to see the memorial being made and be involved in a range of special events to celebrate our father and grandfather’s legacy. It is really important that now, more than ever, hope and aspiration is a key part of the legacy we continue to fulfil. We want to share that message with Liverpool when we visit.”

Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson, said:

“It will be a real honour to meet Dr Maki and Tukwini in person and spend some time with a family so committed to achieving equality and devoting their lives to peace.

“They have a strong affinity with Liverpool and they are keen to be involved as work on the memorial progresses, and their visit gives us the chance to re-emphasise our solidarity and support to the Mandela legacy.

“The city council has been working closely with Mandela8 for a number of years and it will be wonderful to see work on elements of the memorial take shape in what will be a lasting tribute to Nelson Mandela’s unforgettable humanitarian achievements.”

Sonia Bassey, Mandela8 Chair said:

“Mandela8 is absolutely delighted to host Dr Maki and Tukwini Mandela again after so long. We are really looking forward to showing them around our wonderful city again and making sure they get to meet as many people as possible this time. We have arranged a fantastic programme to celebrate their return and the making of our memorial.”

Cath Murray-Howard, Chief Operating Officer from Torus Group said:

“Torus is proud to be associated with such a seminal event, Mandela8 has for many years been a close partner as so many of our tenants live in the area. The Torus Foundation, based in the Fire Fit Hub, Toxteth will support all the celebratory events by working with all colleagues on many wonderful activities.”

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A new mural inspired by Nelson Mandela is nearing completion in Liverpool 8.

The artwork created by John Culshaw, infamous for his range of murals across the City of Liverpool, was commissioned by local charity Mandela8, and is set to transform the beginning of Princes Avenue.

Locals have seen the mural develop day-by-day on the feature wall of the Kuumba Imani Millennium Centre (KIMC) with a wave of excitement building over the past few weeks until its completion. The end result is set to be a stunning tribute with a strong message from Mandela himself – “education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world”.

Sonia Bassey MBE, Chair of Mandela8 said: “This has been a while in development behind the scenes and adds to the already significant regeneration along Princes Avenue that has seen Mandela8 influencing and shaping the very fabric of our community.  It will be a fitting tribute to one of the most significant leaders in the world in advance of the Mandela Family’s visit to Liverpool this July.  

We are delighted that KIMC allowed us to use this wall for the mural. John Culshaw is an amazingly talented artist, and it has been a privilege for Mandela8 to work with him. We have already seen a real excitement about the work developing and we envisage –  like all John’s work – it will become a major attraction for visitors”.

Artist John Culshaw looks to camera with his work-in-progress mural in the background. A cherry picker is parked below the mural.

The completion of the new mural will come ahead of the opening of the new Nelson Mandela memorial in Princes Park this July. Nelson Mandela’s daughter Dr Maki Mandela and his granddaughter, Tukwini Mandela will be on hand to cut the ribbon on the memorial dedicated to the iconic South African leader as part of a week-long visit this summer.

Stephen Nze, Mandela8 Ambassador, who has been leading site management said:  “It’s great to finally see this project come to life; the mural is set to become a landmark within our community. It’s been amazing working with John and it’s great that it will be placed where it will be visible to so many traveling through our community, as well as those that live within it, with a powerful message to all – young and old alike.”

Michelle Charters, Chief Executive Officer of KIMC said: “We are delighted to host this important image of Nelson Mandela created by the amazing artist John Culshaw, on our building. This visual recognition of the great man, his words and contribution to society will leave a legacy of hope for all as they walk or drive past our building.

KIMC are honoured to have been asked by Mandela8 to partner on this and see it as a fitting tribute to all who have been involved in development and projects leading up to and including the upcoming Nelson Mandela memorial in Princes Park, L8.”

Artist, John Culshaw said: “It has been a privilege working on this project with Mandela8. It’s amazing to get the opportunity to paint such an icon. Nelson Mandela is a man who has given so much to humanity and in fighting so hard to abolish apartheid, showed the world that the only way forward is equality.

I hope the the people of the community and visitors who see this mural, will take away a sense of the man and an understanding of his wise words.

Be sure to visit the site and watch this wonderful piece of artwork come together at Kuumba Imani, 4 Princes Rd, Liverpool L8 1TH.

Follow the artist, John Culshaw, on his Instagram page @john_culshaw86; follow the Kuumba Imani Millennium Centre on Twitter @kuumba_imani; and for more information on Mandela8, please visit mandela8.org.uk.

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Wally Brown (Photo: Ean Flanders)

Liverpool charity Mandela8 have announced two esteemed community leaders and activists as their newest patrons.

Maria O’Reilly and Wally Brown will both join the organisation ahead of the Mandela family’s visit to Liverpool later this year.  Nelson Mandela’s daughter Dr Maki Mandela and his granddaughter, Tukwini Mandela will be back in Liverpool to officially open the bridge and memorial dedicated to the iconic South African leader this July as part of a week-long visit. 

Born into a catholic Black family in Liverpool, Maria O’Reilly has always been committed to racial justice and equality, and still maintains an active interest and involvement in social justice, human rights and politics.  Being an activist from a young age, Maria has stood on many a picket line and led many demonstrations tackling racism, police brutality and fighting for social justice.

From 1979 to 1989 Maria worked for the Commission for Racial Equality, and became a Senior Community Relations Officer, and from 1989 to 2002 she was a Coordinator in the L8 Law Centre, engaged in the provision of legal and quasi-legal services.  This role came on the back of her tireless fight as a member of the Liverpool 8 Defence Committee for the rights of people of all ages arrested as part of the 1981 Uprisings.  The Liverpool 8 Law Centre was a pinnacle resource in the community providing much needed legal and social justice services to the marginalised community of Liverpool 8.

Maria O’Reilly

Maria O’Reilly said: “I can think of no higher honour than to be a patron of a legacy left by Nelson Mandela and built on by Mandela8, supported by his daughters to educate young people with the skills to uphold racial justice and equality”.

Wally Brown is well known for his revered work locally and nationally.  His life as a youth leader worker at the Methodist Centre established Wally as one of the most respected men in Liverpool 8 by young people. Wally was born in Liverpool 8 and went on to become the liaison between the Liverpool 8 community and the authorities during the 1981 Uprisings as part of the Lord Gifford Enquiry.

Wally also became the first Black person to chair the Merseyside Community Relations Council and was appointed principal at the city’s Community College, transforming its portfolio and access for people from diverse backgrounds. Later, in 2002, he was awarded  the honour of Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for his services to education. In 2012, Wally was given the ultimate honour in Liverpool by receiving the Freedom of the City, an honour he accepted as a figurehead for all the people he has worked with and the community of Liverpool 8.

Wally Brown, CBE said: It is a great honour to be invited to become a Patron of Mandela8.  I have long admired how Sonia and her Board have nurtured the seed of Mandela8 to become what it is today. I look forward to working with Sonia her board, patrons and all those involved, to help Mandela8 continue to grow, influence and educate”.

Chair of Mandela8, Sonia Bassey MBE said: “It is an honour beyond words to have both Maria and Wally join us as patrons. They are people Mandela8 holds in high regard and are an example of what good Black role models look like. We are truly grateful for leaders like Maria and Wally. Growing up they were my role models, and they paved the way to show me and others, that as young people, we could aspire, and in a community that is oppressed that is so important. Whilst they have not always been visible in the work of Mandela8, they have both guided and supported the organisation behind the scenes from the beginning, so we are extremely excited to now to see them at the fore”. 

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