The world celebrates

NEXT week Cape Town will be awash with celebrities - all in the Mother City to re-enact the release of former president Nelson Mandela from prison.

NEXT week Cape Town will be awash with celebrities - all in the Mother City to re-enact the release of former president Nelson Mandela from prison.

Actors Danny Glover, Alfred Woodward, Blair Underwood and Will Smith, rapper Mof Def and musician Chaka Kahn will be in town for week-long festivities to kick off a six-month campaign called My Mandela Moments.

Well-known actor and social activist Richard Grant is already in the country to complete the final touches to the plans.

"There are more celebrities who are still to confirm," said Amanda Ngudle, spokesperson for the co-organisers, Word of Mouth.

Grant told Sowetan: "We are at the early stages of building the campaign, which is all about educating people. We are excited about this and quite a number of notable people from the US have confirmed their attendance. They will start arriving in the country on Monday. On Wednesday we are organising a big inter-denominational church service to acknowledge the role played by churches in the fight for freedom. We have not yet identified the venue."

February 11 2010 marks 20 years since that magical moment when Mandela, amid awe and incredulity, took his first majestic strides into a new era.

The six-month campaign aims to celebrate, honour and revive the policies and principles of this international icon. The festivities in Cape Town run from Monday to Saturday.

And according to Ngudle the goals of this campaign are to engage the world in ongoing community service activity, increase national and international awareness about Mandela Day (July 18) and celebrate and reaffirm his principles.

A symbolic walk out of the Victor Verster Prison, now called Drankestein Prison, and a wide variety of activities will launch the campaign. The opening of Parliament on February 11 will form part of the activities, followed by a dinner hosted by President Jacob Zuma.

An exhibition by award-winning photographer Peter Magubane at Mandela House and a performance by the Drankestein Prison Choir will also form part of the festivities.

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