Memorialising Mandela in the Metropolis

What might we expect to learn about a famous person from visiting a place named after them? Is naming an urban place simply an act of commemoration, or should such locations be further enhanced through educational resources that enhance symbolic representations? Inspired by initial discussions with the Nelson Mandela Foundation in South Africa, the Memorialising Mandela in the Metropolis project highlights the synthesis of cultural heritage and graphic form through a concentration on places named after Nelson Mandela.

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Watch this short film of the Placemaking through Mandela’s graphic heritage project


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Exploring Madiba’s Graphic Heritage, Workshop, 2 March 2023, Johannesburg, South Africa

Invitation to heritage practitioners (©Nelson Mandela Foundation 2023)


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Read more about Exploring Madiba’s Graphic Heritage workshop in the Information Pack below

Download Exploring Madiba’s Graphic Heritage Information Pack as PDF


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Zandile Miyeka presents the Nelson Mandela Foundation Archive (Photography: ©Nelson Mandela Foundation 2023)

I have learned a lot about place naming, graphic heritage, including many other subjects […] and came to the realisation that archives and graphic heritage are linked.

Zandile Miyeka, Archivist: Metadata and Archiving, Nelson Mandela Foundation









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Ilsé Assman in conversation with Nkululeko Mthembu at the workshop. (Photography: ©Nelson Mandela Foundation 2023)

Graphic heritage has opened a new world to mefascinating! 

Ilsé Assmann, Apricity Consulting, Johannesburg 


Graphic heritage has challenged the delivery of some of these institutions. 

Nkululeko Mthembu, Director, Pista Ventures, Cape Town






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Delegates gathered at Nelson Mandela Foundation to explore graphic heritage from several perspectives that included toponymy, graphic images, digital design, cultural heritage, place-making, archival practice, intellectual property, and copyright. (Photography: ©Nelson Mandela Foundation 2023)


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Engagement with Creative Industry practitioners

Watch this short video of the Placemaking through Mandela’s graphic heritage: The UX Sprint of the Umsuka Platform account of developing a digital prototype UX Sprint sessions.

Download the video here 



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Journal paper

Harland, R.G., Burger, Y., Barnes, A. and Burger, E. (2022) “Memorialising Madiba in South Africa: The role of graphic heritage and toponymy in two contrasting urban places”, The Journal of Public Space, 7(1). DOI: https://doi.org/10.32891/jps.v7i1.1571. (In press)


Commemorations of Nelson Mandela in Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa (Photography: ©Everardt Burger and Yolandi Burger 2022)


Nelson Mandela Park, Mamelodi, Pretoria, South Africa (Photography: ©Fidel Mosupye of Supreme Images 2021)


Conference paper proceedings

Harland, R.G., Burger, Y., & Burger, E.A. (2023) ‘Notes on public places in Madiba’s memory: Using archival resources for graphic heritage interventions in urban development’. AMPS Proceedings Series. (In Press)


Harland, R.G., Barnes, A., Burger, Y. (2022). The Absence of Graphic Representations of Madiba in Nelson Mandela Park, Mamelodi, South Africa. In: Bruyns, G., Wei, H. (eds) [ ] With Design: Reinventing Design Modes. IASDR 2021. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-4472-7_193


De Menezes Migliari, M., Harland, R.G. (2022). Making Praça Nelson Mandela: Morphological Change and Graphic Interventions to Define a New Square in the Botafogo District of Rio de Janeiro. In: Bruyns, G., Wei, H. (eds) [ ] With Design: Reinventing Design Modes. IASDR 2021. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-4472-7_120



Commemorative plaque in Nelson Mandela Park, Leicester, England. (Photograph: ©Robert Harland 2021)


The research extends the Newton Fund Repositioning Graphic Heritage project, which established how town and cityscapes are dense in graphic heritage, often triggering diverse memories and meanings in as many forms as there are people.

Project team

Researchers  Loughborough University : Dr Robert Harland · Dr Alison Barnes · Dr Yolandi Burger · Dr Mirella de Menezes Migliari · Dr Shichao Zhao   Acknowledgments  Nelson Mandela Foundation : Razia Saleh (Head of Archive & Research) · Zandile Myeka (Archivist: Photography and Metadata) · Ann-Young Maharaj (Coordinator: Exhibitions)