The city council in Bulgarian capital city Sofia has named a street in the Lozenets residential area after anti-apartheid hero, Nobel Prize winner and late South African president Nelson Mandela.
The decision, taken in April, was celebrated at a ceremony at the South African embassy on June 1.
At the ceremony, attended by representatives of Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova, and by Lozenets mayor Lyubomir Drekov and a visiting South African delegation headed by Butana Komphela, minister of health in the Free State province, a certificate of the street naming was handed to South African ambassador Vanessa Calvert.
In speeches at the event, ambassador Calvert, mayor Drekov and MEC Komphela paid tribute to Mandela’s place in the struggle for freedom and human rights, while Komphela underlined the gratitude of South Africa and the ANC ruling party for the fact that Bulgaria had hosted many political exiles at the time of the apartheid regime.
The formal end of apartheid came to South Africa with the country’s first democratic elections in April 1994. A joint sitting of South Africa’s houses of parliament elected Mandela as president. He served, at his own wish, a single term.
Born in 1918, Mandela died in 2013. He had been released from prison in 1990 after serving 27 years, emerging at the head of the ANC to advocate a peaceful transition to democracy, national reconciliation and a non-racial society.
(Main photo, of Mandela: UN Photo/John Isaac. Other photos: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)