ONE SMALL SEED MAGAZINE Issue #27 Digital 02 | Page 15

With each stroke of purple paint came a new dimension, and the gravitas started to grow with an aesthetic dialogue that was both infectious and humbling. His Madiba mural represented rising above those that oppress; those that discriminate; those that walk with closed eyes…The mural’s purple conviction painted an aesthetic of empowerment whilst it shone with saffron nostalgia… On the mural are four words that stand as legion: The Purple Shall Govern. The symbolism in this was and is revolutionary. During our interview Fairey shares a bit about the meaning of Purple in the Mandela mural: “My friend Jesse Stagg lived in Cape Town, South Africa for many years, and when Apartheid was ending he was a witness, and part of, what was called The Purple Revolution. He explained about the history, saying: ‘the 20th anniversary is coming up and I have outtakes from Mandela’s Nobel Peace Prize photo session, and if you could illustrate [Mandela] in purple with a nod to The Purple Revolution I think it’d mean a lot to a lot of people in South Africa.’ And of course that was an incredible opportunity for me and I was excited to make an illustration of one of my heroes.” The Purple Revolution was an antiapartheid protest, which took place four days before the Nationalist Party held their elections in Cape Town. Police used water cannons armed with purple dye to quell the unrest and to stain the protesters so they could later be identified and detained. However, an activist redirected the water cannons onto the Nationalist Party’s headquarters, leaving the oppressors’ home base tainted. 'I’m an advocate of human rights, justice, and equality, so it should be obvious why Nelson Mandela is a hero of mine. Some people seem confused by the use of purple and the slogan on my Mandela mural but they reference the anti Apartheid Purple Protest.' (Fairey)