The Urban Alliance on Race Relations is pleased that Nelson Mandela’s connection to Canada has been memorialized on three Canada Post Stamps in honour of African Heritage/Black History Month 2015. Nelson Mandela’s courage, resilience, persistence and leadership in dismantling the apartheid system in South Africa was a journey embraced by Canadians from coast to coast.
The president of UARR Gary Pieters remembered that during his time as an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto in the late 1980s-early 1990s, students at Canada’s largest university, urged and succeeded in getting the University of Toronto governing council to divest from South Africa, as part of many strategies used to show solidarity with the Anti-Aparthied movement, and dismantle the unjust system of apartheid that existed at that time in South Africa.
Mandela’s subsequent release from prison following 27 years behind bars and his triumphant victory at the polls as South Africa’s first Black President, led to the transformation of South Africa into a multiracial, multicultural and pluralist democracy.
His visit to Canada in 1990 included significant events in Toronto including the address to a large crowd of Torontonians at a public event on the lawns of Queen’s Park. The dedication of a public school – Nelson Mandela Park Public School – in his honour, and recently the City of Toronto approved the honourary naming of University Ave in his honour. As a fitting tribute, there will be the Spirit of Mandela Freedom Walk on June 20th, to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of his visit to Toronto.
The UARR is pleased to lend our support and involvement in initiatives that celebrate the legacy of Nelson Mandela, an honourary citizen of Canada, and a great citizen of the world who has inspired many to become agents of progressive social change.