Memorial Vision & Design Principles

The monument will not be a statue of Mr. Mandela, but rather a representation of his legacy; the embodiment of his life’s work and his vision for equality, diversity, and social justice.  Formed of rich granite, bronze, or a combination thereof, the final monument will be built to withstand the test of time and maintain its integrity and beauty for generations.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation and family have graciously and wholeheartedly embraced both the establishment of such a landmark memorial and its placement on a strategic hilltop location at Skylawn Memorial Park. Set within the Santa Cruz Mountain Range near Oakland, with panoramic views to the Pacific Ocean, Skylawn is both dramatic and serene.  The expansive views create an ideal setting for a memorial to promote unity and diversity at both a local and global level.

Skylawn is open to the public 365 days a year.  This walkable property is wheelchair accessible, with plenty of parking.  Since it is an Endowment Care property, the Nelson Mandela monument and surrounding property will be maintained, respected and visited for many generations to come.


The Memorial Mission Statement serves to guide the creation of the memorial as well as its evolution through the ages.

“The memorial will honor Nelson Mandela’s contributions to world peace, human rights, social justice and democracy by empowering individuals to take action to help change the world for the better, and in doing so, to build a global movement for good.  Ultimately it will inspire people and communities everywhere to embrace the ethical framework of ‘service to one’s fellow human every day’ and promote dialogue and inclusiveness as a platform for social change.”


To guide the creation of the memorial, designers must respect the Design Principles and overarching goals. Creatively, designs should:

  • Embody the mission as stated above.
  • Reflect Nelson Mandela’s values of peace, human rights, social justice and democracy.
  • Express the significance and worldwide impact of Nelson Mandela’s life.
  • Make an original and powerful statement of enduring and universal value.
  • Inspire and engage people to learn more about Nelson Mandela’s contribution to humanity.
  • Encourage reflection and contemplation.
  • Respect and enhance the reverent and contemplative nature of the park.

While this monument will not be a statue of Nelson Mandela, design submissions may include an expression of his likeness.