A CENTENARY celebration of the values and actions of Nelson Mandela will take place in Portsmouth this spring and summer.
The African Women’s Forum has been given £28,100 by the Heritage Lottery Fund to set-up ‘Mandela 100’.
The community project will see a programme of activities and events take place across Portsmouth from this month.
The aim is to teach people about the values and legacies the South African anti-apartheid revolutionary held. He was born on July 18, 1918, in Mvezo in South Africa.
Marie Costa, chairwoman of the African Women’s Forum, said: ‘We’re so grateful for the money donated to us by the Heritage Lottery Fund, without which the activities would not be happening.
‘‘This celebration is the first of its kind and we’re happy to be able to share it with communities of Portsmouth. It’s important for the city, and especially the young children in it, to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s legacies and values during this centenary year of his birth.
‘Mandela’s values provide ideals of a freer and fairer society and world by involving whole communities in activities such as ours, breaking down barriers and building strong relationships in and across different areas.
‘He advocated education for all children as a means of reducing poverty.’
The African Women’s Forum was founded in 1995 to provide opportunities for social contact, communication and emotional support for African women in Portsmouth.
Mandela 100 kicks off with African songs, dance and drums with school pupils, South African ballet dancer Jane Hurst, and a community choir at the New Theatre Royal on April 17. The event will be opened by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Ken Ellcome.
There will be a rugby tournament at Portsmouth Rugby Club, which will reflect on Mandela’s ‘unifying use of the sport’ on May 6, and more.
A number of schools are involved in the programme, including: Portsmouth Academy, Northern Parade Junior School, Copnor Primary School, Portsmouth Grammar School, King Richard School and the Trafalgar School.
Marie added: ‘Mandela taught us that we can all live together and celebrate our commonalities as well as our differences.
‘We’re grateful for the support given to us by Portsmouth City Council, the University of Portsmouth and Victorious Festival as well as other local supporters.’
Tickets for the event at the New Theatre Royal are £5 for adults, £4 for under 16s, and £15 for a family of four.
Pay a visit to the website africanwomensforum.org for all the latest information about the upcoming celebrations.