Nelson Mandela was inducted into the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Court of Honor on May 14.
Dignitaries unveiled a bronze plaque that honored Mandela, who appeared at the Coliseum for a freedom rally in June 1990 after spending 27 years as a political prisoner in South Africa. Mandela would go on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and become president of South Africa the following year.
The court’s plaques honor outstanding people or events, athletic or otherwise, that have influenced the history, glory and growth of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandela’s plaque recognizes his unwavering commitment to social justice.
“By dedicating a plaque in his name today, we honor not only Nelson Mandela’s memory, but also the many memories that have been created in this city and in this Coliseum,” said USC President C. L. Nikias.
Mandela stood before a 70,000-person crowd and lauded Los Angeles as a place that transforms a global community, “We could not have left the United States without visiting the city which daily nourished the dreams of millions of people the world over.”
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said Mandela was intentional about coming to Los Angeles and embracing the leadership of Tom Bradley, the first African-American mayor of the city. “Mandela chose to honor and salute the leadership of former Mayor Bradley as a stand-up individual who had to overcome a different set of challenges,” Ridley-Thomas said.
Local and international dignitaries spoke of the transcendent power of the human spirit that Mandela represents.
For civic leader, philanthropist and South Africa native Patrick Soon-Shiong, Mandela brought dignity and reconciliation. “Mandela had the wisdom and the courage after his horrible time in Robben Island to forgive, and importantly, to heal a country,” Soon-Shiong said.
South African Consul General Cyril S. Ndaba gave his heartfelt appreciation for the recognition. “Thank you for remembering the people of South Africa,” he said, “and for honoring our icon of all icons.”
Gus Ruelas contributed the visual materials to this story.