Southbank Celebrates Mandela's Birthday.

Southbank Centre's celebration of Nelson Mandela, The Long Walk to Freedom_18 Sept 2013_CREDIT Belinda Lawley & Southbank Centre_Leading writers, poets, musicians, performers and spoken word artists photographed on Wednesday 18 September, ahead of a sold out event at Southbank Centre in Nelson Mandela’s honour, where they read extracts from his autobiography A Long Walk to Freedom to mark the 27 years he was imprisoned. If you want to know what Southbank Centre is about then  look at this permanent statue and study  the people in this picture. Picture taken three months to the day before his  burialThe sculpture by Ian Walters was commissioned by Ken Livingstone when he was leader of the Greater London Council. It was unveiled in 1985 by ANC president Oliver Tambo. The commissioning of this statue was symbolic of the wide support that existed amongst Londoners for the struggle against apartheid at a time when many in the media and the British government regarded Nelson Mandela as a terrorist. It is one of a tiny number of statues of black or Asian people in London.Back row (left to right):Paterson Joseph star of Channel 4’s Peepshow, Casualty, Law & Order, Inua Ellams award winning poet, playwright and performer, John Ellis musician, Ben Okri OBE Booker Prize-winning authorMiddle row (left to right):Ashley Zhangazha young rising star, Ian Charleson Award winner, Lenny Henry’s co-star in Fences, John Battersby South African journalist, interviewer of Nelson Mandela and co-author of Nelson Mandela: A Life in Photographs, Linton Kwesi-Johnson acclaimed British-Jamaican dub poet, Hannah Pool author and Guardian journalist, Leeto Thale poet and spoken word artist, Lebo Mashile award-winning South African poet and performer, Sharon D Clarke Holby City, EastEnders, The Lion King, Ghost the Musical,  Jude Kelly OBE, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre, Gillian Slovo South African born novelist, President of the English Centre of International PEN, Bernardine Evaristo MBE award-winning author, Paulette Randall theatre director and associate director for the opening ceremony of the London 2012 OlympicsFront row (left to right):Pamela Nomvete Coronation Street’s Mandy Kamara, Marion Molteno award-winning South African novelist,  Sindiwe Magona South African author and playwright, Jack Mapanje Malawian writer and poet, imprisoned without charge in Malawi for three and a half years, Beverley Naidoo South African born children’s book author who was part of the anti-apartheid resistance, Lemn Sissay MBE award winning author, poet and broadcaster, Joyce Moholoagae South African soprano, Carmen Munroe Shirley in Desmond’s; Channel 4’s groundbreaking and longest running sitcom