Madiba to stand out above the rest

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Cape Town - It is 9m tall, weighs 4 tons and is said to be the largest statue of Nelson Mandela.

The bronze-coated artwork spent hours on the road from Cape Town this week and arrived on Wednesday at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, where it is to be assembled and unveiled on Monday.

“This is the largest Mandela statue in the world and we believe it is the best,” said Sarah Haines, of Koketso Growth, which managed the project.

Arts and Culture Department spokesman, Mack Lewele, said they too believed the monument was the world’s biggest Madiba statue.

The statue, created by South African artists Andre Prinsloo and Ruhan Janse van Vuuren, was cast at four different foundries, two of which are in Cape Town where it was initially assembled.

It is one among dozens of statues, sculptures, artworks and monuments honouring the statesman. Another is an 8m statue of Mandela that was unveiled in Mangaung last December.

At the time, it was believed to be the tallest in the world.

A work of art, possibly a statue, is also in the pipeline for Cape Town, but whether it will match up to the tall order set by the two other statues is still a matter of discussion.

The City of Cape Town’s naming committee chairman, Brett Herron, said there had been a motion which was supported to erect a statue or public piece to celebrate Mandela.

Parliament had also been considering a statue.

The city and Parliament were now working on the project.

The details, however, were not yet clear and Herron said it was too early to say when the project would be completed.

There were many reasons for ensuring that the project - or at least the design process - was launched next year, including the 20th anniversary of the country’s democracy and Cape Town’s status as World Design Capital.

“The details of the statue will be the subject of discussions between the city and Parliament,” Herron said.

“Those discussions will resume in the new year when we will seek to reach agreement on the location of the installation and the process to be adopted to procure the statue.”

Those behind the Union Buildings statue, meanwhile, will spend the next few days assembling the monument.

According to previous media reports, it cost R8 million.

Haines said it had been initiated by the Presidency and the Arts and Culture Department in honour of the landmark democracy anniversary next year as well the Union Buildings’ centenary.

In order to make way for the statue, they would have to move a statue of General JBM Hertzog, which would be repositioned on the site and restored next year.

“It has been a collaborative process to decide on the pose, approach and so on.

“There’s a very large team of people involved,” she said, adding that the statue could be described as “very warm and inclusive”.

Cape Times

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