Learning English - Words in the News
29 August, 2007 - Published 12:36 GMT
London unveils Mandela statue
A statue of Nelson Mandela is being unveiled in London's Parliament Square today. Mr Mandela, who is 89, and his wife Graca Machel are joined by the Mayor of London and anti-apartheid campaigners, as well as gospel singers and dancers. This report from Emily Buchanan:
The nine foot bronze shows Nelson Mandela standing and gesturing, as if making a speech. The idea for the monument was initiated by the anti-apartheid activist, Donald Woods. He chose the sculptor Ian Walters who began the work six years ago. Sadly, neither man lived to see today's ceremony.
The statue's fate has been dogged by arguments over where it should go, as well as its artistic merit. The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, had wanted it to stand on the north side of Trafalgar Square. But in 2005 Westminster Council refused permission, saying it would clutter the space needed for large events. It was finally agreed it should face the Houses of Parliament and stand alongside other great leaders, such as Winston Churchill, Benjamin Disraeli and Abraham Lincoln.
Gordon Brown will attend the unveiling. Yesterday he described Mr Mandela as 'the most inspiring, the greatest and the most courageous leader of our generation'.
Emily Buchanan, BBC
neither man lived to see
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