Mandela Monument Design Competition Draws Hundreds of Submissions

SAN MATEO, Calif. – Nov. 7, 2014 – Nearly 200 design entries were submitted for the creation of a permanent monument honoring the life of the late Nelson Mandela. Skylawn Funeral Home and Memorial Park and Chapel of the Chimes partnered with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Oakland chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) on the contest which was open to all U.S. residents over 13 years of age and closed in mid-October. By Dec. 31, 2014, the Nelson Mandela Foundation will announce the winning memorial designer’s name, along with the date of the unveiling ceremony which will take place in summer 2015. Skylawn will construct the winning design and permanently host the monument at its park in San Mateo.

Nelson Mandela Monument

Hundreds of architects, artists and students from across the country honored Mandela’s contributions to world peace, human rights, social justice and democracy through their designs. The competition judges were touched by the deeply personal impact the creative process had on the designers. Many cited the process as a way to truly understand the importance of humility and Mandela’s legacy.

“The entries we received included beautiful acknowledgements of how the design process and the focus on Mandela’s impact around the world helped individual artists reflect upon — and rethink — their own roles in life,” said David Montgomery, cemetery development and memorialization director at Skylawn and Chapel of the Chimes. “This is indicative of how Mandela touched so many people. We’re very pleased by the participation from so many talented artists, architects and students from across the country.” The winning design will be unveiled next summer.

The monument will be installed at Skylawn, which is situated at the crest of Montara Mountain overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The general public will be welcome to visit and learn more about Mandela’s contribution to humanity. Formed of rich granite, bronze or a combination thereof, the monument will be built to withstand the test of time and maintain its integrity and beauty for generations. Skylawn and Chapel of the Chimes are funding the project, from contest management through the production and installation.

“We’re honored for the opportunity to host this new Mandela memorial so people can pay their respects to one of the world’s great leaders,” said Brian Kestenblatt, general manager, Skylawn Funeral Home and Memorial Park. “The transformational impact it will have on the San Francisco Bay Area – as well as all those who visit from around the state and around the country – is significant. We look forward to being part of such a unique and special occasion.”

The strong connection between the Bay Area and Mandela’s life and work dates back almost three decades when, in opposition to Mandela’s imprisonment, Oakland Congressman Ron Dellums drafted the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986. Demonstrations were conducted by thousands of Bay Area residents who rallied for civil rights and Mandela’s release from prison. Shortly following his release in 1990, he visited Oakland.

”As one of the most ethnically diverse regions of the U.S., we felt it was important to provide the people living in and visiting the Bay Area with a place to contemplate what Mandela’s legacy means to them,” said Sello Hatang, chief executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. “We’re thankful for the efforts made by both Chapel of the Chimes and Skylawn to make this monument a reality and we value their ability to give life and meaning to a legacy that touched each one of us.”


The Nelson Mandela Foundation, a registered trust, is a human rights-oriented nonprofit organization. The Foundation delivers to the world an integrated and dynamic information resource on the life and times of Nelson Mandela, and promotes the search for sustainable solutions to critical social problems through memory-based dialogue interventions and tangible activations to realize the legacy of Nelson Mandela.

Twitter: @NelsonMandela


The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic quality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.  

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