Mandela Weekend at the South Bank

On Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th July, London’s famous Southbank Centre will host a celebration of the life and work of Nelson Mandela – with special focus given to his commitment to making the world a better place. Africa Fashion presents an exclusive interview with Rachel Holmes, festival programmer for the Mandela Weekend.

“The festival itself is free, no ticket required, so we’re expecting a massive audience this weekend”, said Rachel. Good to know, given how expensive London-based events can be.

We asked how long it had been running and Rachel told us, “This is the second year of Festival of Love, this is the first year of the Mandela Weekend”.

Mandela was clearly a very special person, but what was the Southbank’s specific reason for hosting this event?

“To celebrate and explore the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela as presiding spirit of Southbank Centre’s Festival of Love and to ask the question “What would Madiba do now?”, she replied.


“In terms of attendance, we have a really exciting and varied programme so are looking forward to welcoming lots of people for discussion and debate”, said Rachel.

What can we expect to find at this event?

“We have a fully immersive programme of talks, film, music, dance, performance and debate – showcasing the very best of new creative talent and challenging thinking from, by and about South Africa today”, Rachel explained.

“It covers all things to do with South Africa past and present, “she said. “From entertainment to challenging and informative ideas to inspiration. We want people to come away asking the questions ‘How can we make the world a better place?’ and ‘What would Mandela do now?’”.

We asked Rachel what she believes to be Mandela’s greatest legacy. She replied, “Ending the evil of Apartheid”.

When we wondered just how special the Mandela Weekend event is, Rachel confirmed, “There has never been anything like this festival in the UK before”.

It sounds wonderful and we encourage anyone who’s near London this weekend to go down to the Southbank centre, near Waterloo and Embankment, to find out more about Mandela the person, his legacy and – of course – the shirts.

We thank Rachel for taking the time to speak with us and the Southbank Centre for their images of the Nelson Mandela statue and dancers.


Read more on the legendary politician, including his signature Madiba shirts >

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