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Cape Town - Just a fortnight after a new statue of Nelson Mandela was unveiled in the US, the former president’s face is due to be uncovered in Stellenbosch.
On September 21, Washington DC became the latest global site to honour the man dubbed South Africa’s “Father of the Nation”.
The 2.75m-tall statue stands where thousands of Americans were arrested in the 1980s for protesting against apartheid and depicts Mandela as he walked out of Victor Verster Prison to freedom in February 1990.
Then, last Thursday, news broke that a 9m bronze-coated statue of Mandela - with outstretched arms - would occupy a central position at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Arts Minister Paul Mashatile announced that President Jacob Zuma would unveil the statue, made by sculptors Andre Prinsloo and Ruhan Jansen van Vuuren supported by a team, on December 16, as part of the celebration for the buildings’ 100 years of existence.
But scooping the national capital will be the Cape Winelands town of Stellenbosch, on Wednesday when an artwork honouring Mandela is due to be unveiled in front of the town hall and council chambers.
The artwork was created by landscape artist Strijdom van der Merwe and was approved by the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
In its statement announcing the launch, the municipality said: “The artwork consists of a concrete block which is 3,6m high and 4m wide.
“This block will be clad in white marble on which a map of a section of South Africa will be subtly etched on either side.
“The sections of map chosen pertain to those areas in South Africa which have played a role in Madiba’s life.
“A laser cut silhouette of Madiba’s face in 20mm Corten steel will be placed in front of the marble block ‘canvas’ on either side,” municipality said.
Along the ground next to the block a 20.4m marble column displays one of Mandela’s most famous quotes: “Never, never and never again will this beautiful country of ours be oppressed by one over another”.