Home » South African defense industry magnate Ivor Ichikowitz pledges to restore Mandela Mural in Kyiv, Ukraine

South African defense industry magnate Ivor Ichikowitz pledges to restore Mandela Mural in Kyiv, Ukraine

by Feyisayo Ajayi

The Ichikowitz Foundation, the philanthropic organization founded by South African defense mogul Ivor Ichikowitz, is partnering with Ukraine’s Iakovenko Foundation for Peace, Dialogue, and Reconciliation to restore the Mandela Mural in central Kyiv, Ukraine.

The Ichikowitz Foundation announced this collaboration through a press statement on Ukraine’s Independence Day.

The mural, created four years ago following a request from the South African Embassy, stands as a towering installation, spanning five stories above Kyiv’s city center.

In December 2021, the mural faced an act of vandalism when individuals with racist motives scaled its walls, applying red paint to deface a portion of Nelson Mandela’s likeness. The motives behind this act were seemingly rooted in disdain for Mandela’s principles and his identity as a Black leader. Speculation even arose about the potential involvement of Russian agents.

“We are privileged to restore this mural to its former glory and to gift it to the people of Ukraine. The image of Mandela and what he stood for provided the people of Kyiv with a daily reminder of what can be achieved when there is the will and a purpose for the greater good. There can be peace; South Africa, of all countries in the world, is proof of that, but for it to prevail, there must be justice. We should not give up hope: As Mandela looks down on the city center, all of us would do well to remember his famous saying: ‘It always looks impossible until it’s done,'” Ichikowitz said.

Ichikowitz, 57, is the founder of Paramount Group, a global aerospace and defense group of companies operating in the global defense, internal security, and peacekeeping industries. It offers governments a range of military aircraft, armored vehicles, maritime systems, equipment, and training.

The Johannesburg-based Ichikowitz Family Foundation was founded in 2010.

The foundation uses various channels such as award-winning films, music, research, publications, and art to foster dialogue between people, to be a torchbearer for innovation, and to build a continent where people are encouraged to dream big and achieve the impossible.

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