Dignitaries gather at Union Buildings

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iol news pic Union Buildings file


A general view of the Union Buildings in Pretoria. REUTERS/Alexander Joe/Pool

Pretoria - Numerous dignitaries were milling near the yet-to-be-unveiled statue of former president Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Monday morning.

Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile was chatting to Dali Tambo, head of Koketso Growth, which made the statue.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, former president Thabo Mbeki, Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti and US civil rights activists were in the VIP marquee erected near the statue.

Scores of local and international journalists were nearby. Many had set up broadcasting equipment on the lawns of the Union Buildings.

President Jacob Zuma is due to unveil the nine-meter high statue of Madiba on Monday morning.

“The unveiling, taking place just a day after the burial of the former president signals the start of celebrating and living the late Madiba's legacy and the end of the mourning period,” presidency spokesman Mac Maharaj said on Sunday.

“The statue is expected to draw large numbers of people to the Union Buildings.”

Monday, the Day of Reconciliation, also marks the commemoration of the centenary of the Union Buildings.

The R8 million bronze statue was created by South African sculptors Andre Prinsloo and Ruhan Janse van Vuuren.

Mandela died at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, aged 95, on December 5. He was buried in his childhood village of Qunu on Sunday.


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