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The Union buildings will soon boast a golden statue of Nelson Mandela as part of the seat of government’s 100-year celebration. The statue will be a gesture from the government to honour Mandela.
Minister of Arts and Culture Paul Mashatile made the announcement this week, just days after the elderly statesman was discharged from hospital.
“Work is at an advanced stage to erect and mount a statue of Tata Madiba at the Union Buildings, as part of its centenary celebrations,” Mashatile said.
He also said that Mandela’s return to his Houghton home was “good news”.
“We take this opportunity once again to wish Tata Madiba well as he recovers at home.
“Even in sickness, Tata Madiba continues to unite our nation and remains an enduring symbol of our freedom and democracy,” Mashatile said.
He did not elaborate on who would be sculpting the statue or where at the Union Buildings the statue would be erected.
Council spokesman Blessing Manale said the City of Tshwane welcomed the statue and the centenary celebrations. “He is the icon of hope for humanity and is respected all over the world.
“It is only appropriate that we as the capital city of a democratic South Africa should be honoured by such a statue,” Manale said.
Manale said the Presidency would decide when the statue will be unveiled but it is likely to be either on December 16, Reconciliation Day, or on December 31, New Year’s Eve.
It will be part of the countdown to 20 years of democracy.
Earlier this year, the cabinet gave the go-ahead for the Union Buildings’s 100 year celebrations to take place in December.
Manale said the City hoped the statue would become the most visited site in the metro.
“It will indeed boost tourism and align the identity of the Union Buildings with a new South Africa,” Manale said.
The metro has also been involved in organising the centenary celebrations.
Memorabilia will include 100- year commemorative books, stamps and a coin series.
Manale said the City could not yet reveal what the statue would look like, because the Mandela family have not yet seen it. But he said more information on the unveiling and the centenary celebrations would be made available soon.
The only life-size statue of Mandela currently stands in Hammanskraal, north of the city.
Other famous Madiba statues include the large statue on Sandton Square and the artwork at the Mandela Capture Site outside Howick in KwaZulu Natal. - Pretoria News