Council calls for street named after Mandela in Olympic Park

Mandela street art in Brick Lane Pic: Dan McCarthy

Mandela street art in Brick Lane Pic: Dan McCarthy

Councillors in Tower Hamlets are calling for a street in the new Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to be named after Nelson Mandela.

The council now intends to lobby Mayor of London Boris Johnson and the London Legacy Development Corporation.

The proposal was passed by more than 20 councillors at a meeting on Wednesday night, following a motion by Cabinet member for Housing Councillor Rabina Khan.

In the motion, Khan said: “In a borough where so many different races live side by side, Mandela’s determination to create racial inequality and unite the black and white people of South Africa holds a particular importance.”

After amendment, the final motion also called for officers in the borough to draw up a number of options “for a permanent tribute to Nelson Mandela in the borough and to present these to full council in advance of Black History month,” which is traditionally held in October.

The council also called upon the Mayor to make funds available from the Community Events Fund “to run an educational project for the borough’s schools in Black History month later this year, focused on Nelson Mandela’s legacy.”

Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman said: “It is good to see that, even posthumously, Madiba can bring contending parties together.”

The plans proved popular with members of the public at the meeting.

Shirley Morrison, 58, who lives in Limehouse, said: “He was an outstanding man, he is there to show the youngsters today on how to conduct yourself no matter what extremities are thrown at you. I think they should have a statue as well as a park to remember him and to show the youngsters who he is, to educate the youngsters.”

Another resident Gary Redding, 49, said: “ I agree on the idea of a park, but I also want accommodation – social housing for people are really needed. That’s the sort of thing that Nelson Mandela would have done, he would not have wanted someone to be living on the streets.”

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