Artists give their impression of Madiba

Nelson Mandela at the centre of a mandala, handing over the Rugby World Cup, as a rock – people are encouraged to use these and other artists’ images as their profile pictures this month.

Mandela art 1 Mandala Mandela by Aleta Michaletos is one of numerous Mandela artworks that Homecoming Revolution have commissioned. The organisation calls on the public to use these images as their profile pictures on various social media platforms. (Images: Homecoming Revolution)

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Shamin Chibba

Mandala Mandela by South African artist Aleta Michaletos shows the man radiating from the centre of a rose, wearing nothing but a content smile. The title plays on his surname and the Hindu and Buddhist symbol known as a mandala that represents the universe.

For the month of July, at least, Mandela is the universe as the world celebrates Nelson Mandela International Day, engaged in acts of kindness in the name of the former South African statesman.

Just before his death, Homecoming Revolution commissioned a number of artists to depict Mandela the way they saw him.

Angel Jones, the organisation’s chief executive and founder, said the project came from the idea that what Mandela represented needed to be celebrated. “What better way than to ask diverse South African artists to paint their own impression of him.”

When Mandela died, Homecoming Revolution put the images of the artworks online and encouraged people to celebrate his life by making one of the pieces their profile pictures. For Mandela Day this year, the organisation is asking the public to do the same again.

Some of the works depict famous scenes, such as when Mandela handed Springbok captain, Francois Pienaar, the Rugby World Cup trophy in 1995, and when he held his fist aloft after coming out of prison.

“These artworks are individual expressions of Mandela’s legacy,” said Jones. “What better way to celebrate these amazing images of Tata Madiba than on Mandela Day.”

Artist Tay Dall, whose Angel Mandela looks like water rushing over a rock in the shape of Madiba, said she was grateful to the man for the freedoms she enjoyed now. “I am much indebted to be a part of Nelson’s life and will forever live in South Africa knowing that he sacrificed his life for mine so that I could live and express myself as a free-thinking person and as an artist.”

Here are few of the artworks that can be found on Homecoming Revolution’s website.

Mandela art 2 Tay Dall’s ‘Angel Mandela’ evokes a sense of nostalgia. The artist said if it was not for Mandela, she would not enjoy the freedom to express herself through art.

Mandela art 3 ‘Nelson Mandela’s Happy Moments’ by Peter Sibanda captures the iconic moments in Madiba’s life. Depicted here is just a part of the painting.


Mandela-by-Liesel-Tiemesmann Liesel Tiemesmann gave her interpretation of an iconic photograph taken by Jürgen Schadeberg of the former president in his Robben Island jail cell.

Mandela art 4 ‘Rebirth’ by Aleta Michaletos earned the artist ‘United Nations Art and Philatelic Award’ in 1994.


Mandela art 5 Tay Dall’s ‘Talisman Mandela’ is made out of photographic paper and mixed media on wood.