Official Opening of Nelson Mandela Gardens in Millenium Square, Leeds

On 30 April 2001, Nelson Mandela Gardens in Millenium Square, Leeds was officially opened and Nelson Mandela was awarded the freedom of the city and awarded a commemorative 'golden owl' (the heraldric symbol of Leeds). In a speech outside Leeds Civic Hall in front of 5000 people, mistakenly Mandela famously thanked 'the people of Liverpool for their generosity'.

Millennium Square is a city square in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It was Leeds' flagship project to mark the year 2000, and was jointly funded by Leeds City Council and the Millennium Commission. Total cost of production was £12m.

On April 30, 2001, the former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela appeared on stage in the square to open the adjoining Nelson Mandela Gardens and was given the Freedom of the City. He famously mis-acknowledged the crowd by saying how happy he was to be in Liverpool.[1]
The garden which won an award for the Council at Chelsea in 2004 was re-created at the south of Millennium Square. It was seriously damaged in May 2008 by a mass water-fight organised over social networking sites.

Nelson Mandela has been made an honorary freeman of Leeds as part of the celebrations marking the seventh anniversary of the end of apartheid.
Thousands turned out in the city centre to cheer the former South African president on his first official visit to the north of England.

Dr Mandela also rededicated the city's Mandela Garden, which first opened in 1983 in support of South Africa's struggle for equality.

At a two-hour open air concert in Leeds, the 82-year-old statesman took the stage to a hero's welcome.

Dr Mandela told the crowd that the garden reminded him of his childhood.

"That's one thing that makes me be in peace with myself, to be in peace with the entire world and to be in peace with the people of Leeds. I thank you very much."