South African Snapshots: no 18

The Berlin Wall.
Outside the Mandela Rhodes Building on 150 St Georges Mall sits a small piece of concrete. Not many people know that this is a relic from a time of oppression in a different part of the world; Eastern Europe. The Berlin Wall was a physical as well as symbolic boundary between the democratic west and communist east. Its fall in 1989 signalled a new era, where people again had the freedom of movement as well as expression. A part of the wall was given as a gift to Nelson Mandela after a state visit to Germany in 1996. I like the fact that this piece of public art is so laden with symbolism, yet so unassuming. We must never forget the past, but at the same time it mustn’t take too much space in the present.


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