A giant statue of former president Nelson Mandela after being unveiled on Naval Hill in Bloemfontein, South Africa, Thursday, Dec 13, 2012, by president Jacob Zuma, unseen, ahead of the ruling African National Congress's elective conference. Mandela, who has been hospitalized since the weekend, is recovering from a lung infection. (AP Photo/STR)

Bloemfontein -

ANC President Jacob Zuma unveiled a bronze statue of former president Nelson Mandela on Naval Hill in Bloemfontein on Thursday.

Colourful balloons filled the air as Zuma removed a black sheet covering the artwork.

The unveiling came ahead of schedule as rain affected the official programme. Guests were accommodated in a big white tent behind the statue.

Mandela's statue looks in the direction of Waaihoek, where the ANC was established 100 years ago. - Sapa