Mandela, Tutu & De Klerk attend Volvo Ocean Race events Cape Town

Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and FW de Klerk will attend a special waterfront ceremony on 16 December to open the Nobel Square.

Read more about the Volvo Ocean Race 2008.

Mandela is set to attend a special Waterfront Nobel Square ceremony on 16 December 2005 to mark the establishment of Nobel Square, adjacent to the Victoria Basin where the Volvo yachts are moored, in honour of four South African Nobel Peace Prize winners.

Fellow winners Desmond Tutu
and Fredrik De Klerk, the former President of South Africa, will also be in attendance with current president Thabo Mbeki hosting proceedings.

Local tourist and government authorities in Cape Town are bracing themselves for one of their busiest seasons ever. Never before has a Volvo stopover coincided with a Christmas holiday and attendances are expected to be in excess of 2.2 million visitors for the period up to the start of the second leg on 2 January.

Many of the visitors will come
to Jetty One in the V&A Waterfront, where the village has been sited and the boats will be berthed, so they can view the boats and experience the interactive technology exhibits on display.

Hundreds of Volvo banners
and pennants have been draped around the city leaving visitors in no doubt about the impending celebrations, and plans have been hatched over the past three years to make sure the 3,600 strong Volvo Ocean Race family and an army of supporters receive the warmest of warm welcomes.

Over the next four weeks, activities in the village will be frenetic, ranging from the semi-serious to the downright bonkers, but all designed to educate and entertain visitors. Among the former is the popular skippers and navigators forum, which will be staged in the main amphitheatre where every question, however weird or tricky, is guaranteed to receive an answer.

On Boxing Day, which historically
is the biggest shopping day in the Cape Town calendar, the V&A Waterfront is expected to attract an additional 120,000 visitors all keen to see a display of hard-nosed competitive action from the masters of Volvo In Port racing.

The fleet will battle it out over a triangular course between the port of Cape Town and Robben Island, which is 12 km from the mainland and which until 1997, was a dumping ground for political troublemakers and social outcasts including of course Nelson Mandela.

Thousands are expected to watch the racing from the shoreline around the city and in the race village where the action will be relayed on big screen.

Other stopover activities include
a Youth Sailing Day which is likely to involve up to 100 youngsters of varying degrees of skill and experience who will get the chance to sail with professional sailors from both the Volvo race and crewmembers of Team Shosholoza, South Africa's America's Cup entry, which is back in Cape Town for just two months.

(Source: BYM News / Lizzie Green, 1 December 2005)

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