Business leaders, politicians, economists and communities say the legacy of South Africa’s first democratically elected President Nelson Mandela is critical for the country’s economic survival on the African continent.
When the Nobel Laureate officially opened the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in the port city of Durban 21 years ago, stating, “ the people of Durban had shown foresight, determination and initiative.”
In keeping with that vision, President Cyril Ramaphosa is optimistic about South Africa’s economy. Job growth’s driving his optimism.
The iconic ICC has, over the years, contributed to South Africa’s economic growth. ICC Chief Executive Officer Lindiwe Rakharebe said the centre contributed immensely to the coffers of the state, raking in over 40-billion Rand since it opened its doors 21 years ago.
Rakharebe said the Durban ICC was an important engine room for job creation and had been responsible for creating over 100-thousand jobs among the youth.
Mandela played a significant role in opening up many avenues, as Rakharebe explained, resulting in attracting many international events and foreign visitors to the ICC, situated on the doorstep of the Indian Ocean.
On the 18th of July, UN Mandela Day is observed.
Rakharebe said to maintain the world-class standard, the ICC had set aside six million Rand to have the Hall One Tribune seating upgraded after almost two decades. She said: “thousands of delegates from all over South Africa attended conferences, making it the leading tourism destination in KwaZulu-Natal. The multi-award-winning centre had adapted various culinary styles and it was currently showcasing some of Durban’s authentic African cuisines.
“It’s important to develop linkages that enhance the ICC’s potential as a successful convention destination that will impact the province’s tourism industry”, she said.
The Durban’s ICC has become a symbol of democracy and observes the teachings of Mandela as he triumphed over apartheid,” Rakharebe added.
ICC Marketing, Sales and Events Director — Scott Langley — said the mission and vision for the centre were to create inspiring convention, exhibition and entertainment experiences that exceed the customers’ expectations in an innovative, sustainable and proudly multi-cultural African way.
Langley concluded by saying that the International Convention Centre was a world-class convention, exhibition and entertainment centre, where the World meets Africa
The ICC is situated on the old Durban Prison site, which housed political dissidents during the apartheid era. Some of the leaders were from the Passive Resistance and Defiance movements.