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South Bank’s bust of Nelson Mandela given grade II listed status

London SE1 website team

The bust of former South African president Nelson Mandela outside the Royal Festival Hall has been given grade II listed status by the Government.

South Bank’s bust of Nelson Mandela given grade II listed status
Flowers in front of the Mandela bust after the death of the former South African president in 2013

The Mandela bust is one of three new additions to the national heritage list announced this week as part of a collaboration between Historic England and the BBC's 'Black and British' season.

Ian Walters completed the Mandela bust in 1982 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the African National Congress.

Originally displayed by the Greater London Council (GLC) as part of its 'Year of Anti-Racism' in 1984, it later passed to the ownership of Southbank Centre.

The bust was unveiled on the South Bank, on the south side of the Royal Festival Hall, by Oliver Tambo, president of the ANC, in 1985.

The bust was re-cast in 1988 after what Historic England describes as "most likely politically-motivated vandalism".

In 2007 the bust was returned to its plinth outside the Royal Festival Hall after major refurbishment of the building.

Flowers were placed in front of the bust after Nelson Mandela's death in 2013.

Also listed this week are Brixton Recreation Centre and a sculpture on a platform at Brixton Railway Station.

Heritage minister Tracey Crouch said: "I'm absolutely thrilled to list these places and sculptures with such a strong connection to black British history.

"Our nation's heritage encompasses people from a wide variety of cultures, backgrounds and traditions and it is vital that we continue to recognise all that have played a role in shaping our history."

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