Sir Richard Branson dedicates new aircraft to Madiba

18 July 2018 - 11:25 By Suthentira Govender
Sir Richard Branson and Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu during the 16th annual Nelson Mandela lecture at Wanderers Stadium on July 17, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Sir Richard Branson and Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu during the 16th annual Nelson Mandela lecture at Wanderers Stadium on July 17, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Gallo Images / Frennie Shivambu

In celebration of late former statesman Nelson Mandela’s centenary year‚ English business magnate Sir Richard Branson has named an aircraft in his latest fleet “Lady Freedom”.

Branson‚ founder of the Virgin Group - which has airline Virgin Atlantic in its stable - shares a birthday with Madiba‚ with whom he formed a 25-year bond.

According to the latest Virgin Atlantic blog post: “Nelson Mandela has been a great source of inspiration to countless people around the world and here at Virgin Atlantic‚ we are no exception.

“He was a good friend of Richard’s and the two even share their birthday.

"To mark the 100th anniversary of his birth and to honour his legacy of freedom and equality‚ we’ve named our latest Boeing 787-9 Lady Freedom.”

The airline also announced that during the month of July it would redirect all its "Change for Children" on-board charity donations on the Heathrow to Johannesburg flights to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.

“July 18 is Mandela Day‚ when we come together to remember a great man and call on everyone to help make the world a better place.

“This year it takes on a special significance because it marks what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday‚” the blog post read.

Branson was expected to join Graça Machel and Kofi Annan on the 2018 Walk Together at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

It’s a short and symbolic walk that "demonstrates a shared commitment to continuing Mandela’s long walk to freedom". 

July 18 marks #MandelaDay. This is how people celebrated and spent their 67 minutes to honour the late Madiba.

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