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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 April, 2005, 08:55 GMT 09:55 UK
Mandela statue sent to namesake
Friend and fellow prisoner Denis Goldberg with statue of Nelson Mandela
Denis Goldberg accepted the statue before it was sent to South Africa
A wooden sculpture of Nelson Mandela, displayed in Manchester Town Hall for almost 20 years, is to be shipped to its namesake.

The piece was a tribute, created by the late Manchester artist Sol Garson, to the former South African president.

It will be presented by Manchester's Lord Mayor, Tom O'Callaghan, to Denis Goldberg, a political activist imprisoned alongside Mandela.

After the ceremony on Tuesday, the sculpture will be sent to South Africa.

A commemorative plaque on the sculpture reads: "Nelson Mandela: Lawyer and Politician and a National Organiser of the African National Congress sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964 by the South African Regime."

'Inspirational figure'

Councillor Van Stevens, deputy leader of Manchester City Council, said: "It's wonderful having held this sculpture in trust for all these years to be able to return it to the man who was such an inspirational figure not only to the person who created it, but to so many people all over the world."

Nelson Mandela remains one of the world's most revered statesman, who led the struggle to replace the apartheid regime of South Africa with a multi-racial democracy.

Despite many years in jail, he emerged to become the country's first black president and to play a leading role in the drive for peace in other spheres of conflict. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

Since stepping down as president in 1999, Mr Mandela has become South Africa's highest-profile ambassador, campaigning against HIV and Aids and securing his country's right to host the 2010 football World Cup.

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