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Johannesburg, South Africa, 24th of August 2023 – On Ukraine’s Independence Day, leading African NGO, the Ichikowitz Family Foundation, in partnership with Ukraine’s Iakovenko Foundation for Peace, Dialogue and Reconciliation, announced that they have commissioned the restoration of the Mandela Mural in central Kyiv.  

The mural was painted four years ago following a request by the South African Embassy to sponsor a giant installation, five stories above the Kyiv city centre.

In December 2021, racist extremists scaled the walls and daubed part of his face in red paint in an attempt to deface the mural. The perpetrators neither liked what Mandela stood for, nor perhaps the fact that he was Black. It was also suggested that Russian agents could have been responsible.


Ivor Ichikowitz, Chairman of the Ichikowitz Foundation stated: “We are privileged to restore this mural to its former glory and to gift it to the people of Ukraine. The image of Mandela and what he stood for provide the people of Kyiv with a daily reminder of what can be achieved when there is the will and a purpose for the greater good. There can be peace, South Africa of all countries in the world is proof of that, but for it to prevail there must be justice. We should not give up hope: As Mandela looks down on the city centre, all of us would do well to remember his famous saying: ‘it always looks impossible until it’s done’”.

Iakovenko’s Foundation Chairperson, Olga Iakovenko stated: “Nelson Mandela reminds us every day of the importance of never giving up, the importance of fighting and looking into the bright future – the night is always dark before the dawn. Only strong nations as well as strong personalities can withstand extreme trials.  Nelson Mandela did it, and we are doing it. Ukraine will emerge stronger than before.”

“The significance of the mural is even more important now than it was when the installation was first created. Mandela took up arms against oppression. It was a cause for which he was prepared to die if he had to. He emerged 27 years later determined to make a lasting peace. It’s easy to ignore that the entire world expected South Africa to erupt into an unimaginable racial conflagration. That it didn’t is due to Mandela’s strength of resolve and his depth of conviction. He inspired others around him, great leaders too, to work for something bigger than themselves to the amazement of the world.” Ichikowitz added.

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