Minenhle Nxele said it took him three months to complete the 3m-high by 2m-wide sculpture because of the casting of the steel.
“It was basically like building a house and working with rows going up,” said Nxele.
The Durban University of Technology fine arts graduate said the most difficult part of creating the face was cutting the metal with a grinder.
The owner and director of Global Scrap Metal, Yugan Govender, saw Nxele’s potential when he came across his CV after he applied for the post of scale assistant.
Govender said his company had experience in creating animal sculptures and asked Nxele to start creating dinosaur sculptures. These were put on display at the various branches.
“Global Scrap was determined to play a role towards uplifting the unemployed youth in the city and, with a strong passion for metal art, we decided to use metal art as a medium to inspire and teach youth the value of upcycling,” he said.
Govender said that when the decision was made to sculpt a face, Madiba was the obvious choice. He said the Mandela face sculpture would be displayed at a new branch at the corner of Boshoff and Greyling streets in the Pietermaritzburg CBD next month.
The businessman added that there are six more openings for final-year art students to join the company next year.
“We pay them market-related salaries and teach them how to weld and bend metals at the workshop.”
Nxele is looking for sponsors to fund his dream of studying further next year.
“I am looking for sponsors in order to go back and finish my studies and maybe partner with them to create art,” he said.