This week, First National Bank brought together some of South Africa’s finest celebrities to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela, marking his 21 years of freedom.
In tribute to South Africa’s most loved hero Mr. Nelson Mandela and 21 years of freedom, a glittering event was held at the Killarney Country Club in Johannesburg. The event, hosted by FNB Premier Banking, brought together some of SA’s well known celebrities, icons and members of the public as they honoured the world’s most recognized icon.
From the moment guests arrived they were able to experience a proudly South African welcome as they made their way down a 210 meter long red carpet representing the long walk to freedom. The walk took guests on a memorable journey showcasing some of the highlights shared by our nation over the past 21 years.
Many of South Africa’s icons including, Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu, Charlize Theron, Philip Tobias, John Kani ,Graham Pollock, Jonathan Zaphiro, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Gary Bailey, Justice Albie Sachs, Lucas Radeba, Raymond Ackerman and Chester Williams among others, gave their heartfelt tributes to a man that made and continues to make a difference to the lives of millions around the world.
Performances by the princess of Africa – Yvonne Chaka Chaka, who performed her ever famous ‚Man of the World‚ , and PJ Powers who gave the crowd goose bumps as she sang her renowned song ‚The World in Union‚ , certainly had guests tapping their feet and singing along to the music as they remembered an extraordinary time in our history.
One of the most unforgettable parts of the evening was the much anticipated unveiling of the painting ‚Ndiwelimilambo Enamagama‚ . A phrase derived from Mandela’s home town in the Eastern Cape meaning ‚a great man that has crossed many rivers‚ . The exquisite work of art, commissioned by FNB Premier Banking to commemorate the occasion, is a great monumental landscape that depicts a personal portrait of who Mandela is. His shirt and much of the landscape are a translation cleverly incorporating many of the tributes that were sent in from South Africans countrywide. The work of art was developed by artist Andy Robertson from Glyphic Evolution.
‚Our approach has been to look specifically at the idea of a living icon and the legacy that exists beyond that,‚ said Craig Hazel, Business Director of Glyphic Evolution. ‚We’ve had the privilege of working with a host of tributes, all of which are a testament to the profound effect Nelson Mandela’s legacy has on people everywhere. The painting was created using the boxing philosophy of sparring all because of a chance encounter that the artist, Andy, had with Nelson Mandela,‚ he explained.
Another highlight of the evening was a heartfelt speech by Ndaba Mandela, (Nelson Mandela’s grandson) who accepted the painting on behalf of Madiba. ‚It is with great pride that I congratulate the people of SA on 17 years of freedom – one Africa, one people, one destiny.‚
The painting will become part of Mandela’s collection and go down in history for remembering 21 years of freedom and South Africans paying tribute to their ultimate icon.
‚Through this year’s Premier Firsts theme, A tribute to 21 years of freedom, FNB Premier Banking provided a platform for all South Africans to pay tribute to Mr Mandela,‚ said Lezanne Human, CEO of Premier Banking. ‚Yes, FNB is openly patriotic. 21 years of freedom is a unique time in our history and we are commemorating this through a special tribute book that will incorporate ALL the tributes we have received from South Africans nation wide. We will present the book to the Nelson Mandela Foundation so that this milestone year goes down in history and is remembered for years to come,‚ she explained.
The Premier Firsts campaign is designed to reward clients and bring South Africans the most unique lifestyle experiences that they would not normally have access to.
‚Through this campaign we seek to rekindle the national pride felt by all South Africans on the eve of the World Cup. We also seek to create a new sense of leadership and inspiration for South Africans as we try and revive a bit of that Mandela Magic,‚ added Human.
The unforgettable evening ended as Yoliswa Mzwakali (the adorable little girl pictured in FNB’s recent television advert) sang the national anthem, with all the guests spontaneously joining in – a very moving moment that made all present, proud to be South African. A gathering of this stature with true SA warmth was an incredible feel-good event: it highlighted how Madiba has inspired so many people from all walks of life.