A newly completed mural on the appropriately named Mandela Street in Camden, London, is yet another fitting tribute to the life and work of Nelson Mandela.
In the 1980s, the London suburb of Camden was a centre of the anti-apartheid movement, as well as home to the ANC-in-exile headquarters where some of the struggle’s biggest champions met and co-ordinated the toppling of the apartheid regime.
Today, Camden is home to a thriving multicultural community. One of its busiest roads — previously known as Selous Street but renamed Mandela Street in 1985 — is a growing tribute to the life and work of Nelson Mandela. The most recent addition to the road is a vast mural painting on the side of an office building that depicts a radiant Madiba in his ubiquitous floral shirt.
The mural was painted over 12 days in July 2017 by the city’s Global Street Art (GSA) collective, a group of young street artists. It was unveiled on 18 July, on what would have been Madiba’s 99th birthday and what is now celebrated as Nelson Mandela International Day.
“As soon as we heard what [the owners of the building] wanted, we were very happy to be involved,” said the GSA’s Tom Maya. “The subject and the sheer size of the piece meant it was a real honour to be part of it.”
The artists’ intention behind the mural was to remind people of Mandela’s continued global relevance as an important source of the ideals of non-racialism and reconciliation at a time when it seemed that the world’s attention to these ideals was waning.
Watch video of how the mural was created.
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