‘City tribute is wholly appropriate’

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THE question of how Edinburgh should honour the memory of Nelson Mandela is sure to spark some debate.

We have already had the suggestion that Festival Square could be renamed in honour of a man who was made a Freeman of the city on a visit in 1997.

Alternatively, in a city which does not have enough public art, a statue or other piece of artwork remains a possibility.

There are countless ways to show the Capital’s respect for Mandela, all of which would have their own merits.

Canvassing public opinion is key, and there will be strong 
opinions.

The most important thing is that the formal memorial is developed in a way which Mandela himself would approve – by involving everyone, and by valuing everyone’s opinion to find a consensus.

We may find some will even question the very idea of honouring a foreign statesman – someone with no direct link with the Capital – in this way.

But Edinburgh has long been an outward-looking, international city and surely such a tribute is wholly appropriate to an incredible, inspirational figure whose actions changed the world for the better.

That may mean Festival Square being renamed, or it may take a completely different form.

We look forward to the debate over the coming weeks – a debate which will be happening in towns and cities across the world – and hearing the range of opinions on the best memorial.

Mandela’s place in history is assured and Edinburgh schoolchildren for generations to come will be taught about the great man.

How fantastic that they will not only be able to learn about the anti-apartheid protests here and how Mandela eventually visited as president of South Africa.

They will also learn how this generation felt so passionately about what one man achieved that they created a lasting memorial.