Cape Town - The Embassy of Ireland and Tourism Ireland brought the famous St Patrick’s Day Global Greening initiative to Cape Town, when the Long March to Freedom exhibition site was lit in luminous green on Wednesday.

The exhibition in Century City showcases 100 life-sized bronze sculptures of South African liberation heroes such as Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu.

It will now join world-famous sites such as New York's Empire State Building, London's Trafalgar Square Gardens, Rome's Colosseum and Australia’s Sydney Opera Hous,e among others. Famed and unknown sites are lit in green annually to mark St Patrick's Day commemorated on March 17. The Global Greening initiative has been running for the past 11 years.

Ambassador of Ireland to South Africa Fionnuala Gilsenan said: “The site was chosen because of its iconic nature, it displays life-size statues of the anti-colonial and anti-apartheid leaders and by illuminating them in green for St Patrick’s Day, we are making a connection between South Africa and Ireland’s struggle for independence, justice and equality.”

“I am hoping to remind people that previous generations faced overwhelming challenges and yet, through courage and determination succeeded in their mission. The Irish Solidarity Exhibition at the site might also inspire visitors to remember the importance of global solidarity, and how ordinary people join hands across the world to stand against injustice and in solidarity with each other. That’s a powerful message as we seek to overcome the challenges that we face today amid the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Heritage project director of the Long March to Freedom, Sarah Haines, said, “The directors of the Long March to Freedom are thrilled to be selected to participate in Tourism Ireland's Global Greening initiative. We are delighted that the Long March to Freedom will be illuminated every evening until Saturday and encourage visitors to visit the site and take a photo with their favourite icon. Entrance is free and we welcome your donations to the project.”

The greening of the Long March to Freedom runs from March 17 to 20, 2021. Visit the Embassy of Ireland in South Africa or the Long March to Freedom’s Facebook pages to view it virtually.

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17 March 2021 – St Patrick’s Day