International travellers passing through Cape Town International Airport will soon be greeted by a giant tapestry in memory of global human rights defender Nelson Mandela.

Amnesty International, through its Art for Amnesty project, has commissioned acclaimed artist, Peter Sis, to design the giant memorial tapestry honouring Madiba, for unveiling on 10 December 2015, International Human Rights day.

Measuring over 6 × 3 metres, and woven by Atelier Pinton in Aubusson, France, ‘Flying Madiba’, as it is called, will be displayed in the ‘meeters and greeters’ area of the international arrivals hall of Cape Town International Airport.

The Mandela tapestry project is a partnership between Art for Amnesty and the Cape Town International Airport and is endorsed by the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

The project has been generously backed and funded by Bono and The Edge of U2, John Legend, Peter Gabriel, Sting and Yoko Ono.

“We hope that this magnificent tapestry will provide a constant reminder to the millions of passengers passing beneath it of the enduring human rights legacy of Nelson Mandela, not only for South Africa but for the world,” said Art for Amnesty founder Bill Shipsey. “Madiba was and still is an inspiration to us all. His example teaches us that we all need to take injustice personally.”

Nelson Mandela received Amnesty International’s most prestigious award, the ‘Ambassador of Conscience’ Award, in 2006.

“Nelson Mandela was the greatest world leader in our life time,” said Yoko Ono. “His memory needs to be honoured now more than ever. I am so pleased to be part of this artistic tribute to a great man.”

“Under Apartheid, Mandela had seen his people’s extraordinary suffering,” added Peter Gabriel, musician, human rights campaigner, and recipient of the 2008 Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award. “They were denied basic rights, often brutally beaten, unjustly imprisoned and murdered. Yet after 27 years in jail, he was willing to trust the humanity and idealism of his oppressors, without whom, he knew he could not achieve a peaceful transition of power and the realisation of the Rainbow Nation that was his dream. There is no other example of such inspirational leadership in my lifetime.”

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