St James Centre set for Nelson Mandela tribute

The late Nelson Mandela. Picture: Getty

The late Nelson Mandela. Picture: Getty

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A STREET or square is to be named after Nelson Mandela in the new St James development as a permanent tribute in the Capital to the former South African president.

The move has been announced by Lord Provost Donald Wilson following talks between the city council and developers TH Henderson Real Estate.

There are existing tributes in the city to the man known to many in his home country as “Madiba”, including the Nelson Mandela Room in the City Chambers and Edinburgh University’s Potterrow Mandela Centre, but the street in the £850 million hotel, shops and office complex will be the first in Edinburgh to bear his name.

The city’s contribution to the global protest movement against apartheid is also celebrated in the statue Woman and Child on Festival Square.

Cllr Wilson: said: “Nelson Mandela’s influence extended far beyond the borders of South Africa and his legacy is felt in Edinburgh as it is worldwide.

“This city had a close association with the South Africa’s struggle for equality, and for Mandela’s efforts to create democracy, Edinburgh’s lord provost of the time agreed to award Mandela one of the highest honours that can be granted – the Freedom of the City in 1997.

“The council also has a room dedicated in the City Chambers named after Mandela and his dedication to democracy, but I believe it is important to have a civic space where people from all walks of life, from Edinburgh and abroad, can visit.

“This public memorial project will be in a prominent area of the city and will be designed to allow us to create a lasting tribute to Mandela so that his memory and legacy lives on in the Capital.”

While the campaign to end Mandela’s imprisonment and put a stop to apartheid was supported by many across Scotland for decades, the Capital’s formal association with the global figurehead began in 1997, when as president of South Africa he attended a Commonwealth heads of government meeting in the city.

The final location will not be decided until design work is completed.

Other previously mooted sites were Festival Square and new public spaces at the Haymarket, New Waverley and Fountainbridge developments.