Brent honours Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Tributes have been paid to the former South African president, Nelson Mandela, who died in his home on Thursday aged 95.

Brent Council will fly its flag at half mast today to honour the passing the first black president of South Africa.

Mr Mandela had a special connection to Brent, having visited the borough in the 1990s while he was deputy leader of the African National Congress in South Africa.

During his visit, Mandela attended a special concert held at the old Wembley Stadium to mark his release from prison.

Suresh Kamath of the Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM), introduced the revered politician to the then Leader of Brent Council the late Dorman Long and other council members during the event.

“It was a gratifying and humbling moment to shake hands with a person who was such an iconic and great symbol for humanity,” Mr Kamath of Elms Park Avenue said.

“We will remember him for what he has done to unite the people of South Africa but also what he has done for the people of Africa and the rest of the world.”

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In 1962, Mr Mandela also came to Willesden and addressed the Trades Council.

He became the second person in history to be given the horary freedom of the Borough just six months ago for his outstanding contribution to human rights, democracy and freedom of speech.

In the early 1980s a newly built street in Stonebridge in Brent - Mandela Close - was named after him in his honour.

Brent’s Leader, Muhammed Butt has today spoken of his sadness at the death the former president.

“The world has lost its greatest citizen. Nelson Mandela’s magnanimity and strength of spirit will inspire for generations to come,” he said.

“Councillors from all parties were honoured this year to award the great man the Freedom of the Borough on behalf of Brent residents. Nelson Mandela’s life had a huge impact on our borough and on its people. Everyone at Brent Council was deeply saddened to hear of his death.”

A special book is also to be made available in the Civic Centre for residents to leave their messages of condolence.