OTD: Nelson Mandela honoured on Canadian stamp

On today’s date in 2015, iconic human rights activist Nelson Mandela was commemorated on a Permanent stamp issued by Canada Post in a ceremony with the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

The stamp recognized the special relationship Canada shared with Mandela, who referred to this country as his home away from home.

“Our stamp program seeks to tell the stories of people who have had a powerful effect on our society, and Nelson Mandela’s story is among the most powerful. Canada Post is truly privileged to celebrate his life, his legacy and his struggle that inspired generations to fight for what is right,” said Deepak Chopra, president and CEO of Canada Post.

During his 27 years in prison, Mandela became a symbol of the moral fight for freedom, equality and justice in South Africa and around the world. His message strongly resonated among Canadians, who were at the forefront of the global outcry over his imprisonment and of the unrelenting demand for his release.

The Permanent stamp was designed by Ian Drolet.

After his release in 1990, Canada was among the first countries Mandela visited. Four years later, as president of South Africa, he specifically drew on Canadian values, policies and practices to build his post-apartheid vision of a multi-racial democracy rooted in equality and governed by the rule of law.

In 2001, on his third visit to Canada, Mandela was bestowed with honorary Canadian citizenship—the first living person to receive this recognition.

“Nelson Mandela, an honorary Canadian citizen, is an inspiration to everyone who values human rights. As a great champion of freedom, beloved by Canadians, he will forever be remembered as a man whose courage changed not just South Africa, but also the world,” said Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister.

The stamp was inspired by a photograph taken by Yousuf Karsh on Mandela’s first visit to Canada in 1990, just four months after his release from prison.

Mandela died on Dec, 5, 2013.

The stamp is available in booklets of 10 and measures 32 mm x 32 mm. An official first-day cover (OFDC) and souvenir sheet with an international rate stamp are also available. The stamp, souvenir sheet and OFDC were designed by Ian Drolet with photos by Yousuf Karsh, Jürgen Schadeberg and Stephane de Sakutin, and printed by Canadian Bank Note. The OFDC measures 191 mm x 113 mm and was cancelled in Ottawa, Ont. The circular cancel has a floral emblem in the centre.

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