Contest to Design Nelson Mandela Monument in Bay Area

Nelson Mandela's death in December 2013 was mourned by billions of people, and now the Nelson Mandela Foundation in South Africa, the Oakland faction of the NAACP, and two cemeteries based in the Bay Area have joined together to create a monument to honor Mandela's life and legacy.

And they want you to create it.

Bay Area artists and designers over the age of 18 are invited to submit their design for a monument to commemorate Mandela and his vast international contributions. All designs must be submitted by May 15, and the winner will be announced in June.

The monument will be established at Skylawn Funeral Home and Memorial Park in San Mateo, one of the two cemeteries involved in the project (the other one is Chapel of the Chimes), overlooking the Pacific.

Although putting the monument in San Mateo may seem arbitrary, Mandela was strongly connected to the Bay Area during his lifetime. Residents of the Bay Area, particularly of Oakland, were instrumental in the anti-apartheid movement in the '80s and early '90s. Not only were there an abundance of anti-apartheid protests in Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco, but Oakland is one of the first cities to have refused to accept shipments of anything from Africa because of its apartheid practices. Additionally, the then-Mayor of Oakland Ron Dellums was the first U.S. legislator to create any anti-apartheid ordinances. Mandela met Dellums in the early '90s and praised him for all of his work in the movement.

The panel of judges for this contest include California Congresswoman Barbara Lee, California NAACP President Alice Huffman, and San Francisco city administrator Naomi M. Kelly.

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