Mandela statue to be unveiled

2013-12-16 08:45

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

A nine-metre statue of Nelson Mandela will be unveiled today on a holiday dedicated to reconciliation, 24 hours after the solemn burial of the icon credited with South Africa’s peaceful transition.

The 30-foot, bronze colossus will be officially unwrapped by President Jacob Zuma on the lawns of the Union Buildings, the seat of government in Pretoria where Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa’s first black president in 1994.

Today’s ceremony will also mark the centenary in November of the building where apartheid-era heads of state signed off on many of the racial laws Mandela spent most of his life fighting against.

It is at the Union Buildings that the man lovingly called the father of the nation lay in state for three days last week, as up to 100?000 people stood in hours-long queues to file past his open casket and pay their last respects.

“The unveiling... signals the start of celebrating and living the late Madiba’s legacy and the end of the mourning period,” said a government statement.

Ten days of mourning declared after Mandela died on December 5 at the age of 95, officially ended at midnight yesterday.

From today, the national flag will be raised from its half-mast position and fly as normal, said the government.

“Former President Mandela is associated with the promotion of reconciliation, which is why the day was chosen for the unveiling,” it added.

December 16 has been commemorated in South Africa for over 150 years.

It was at first called Day of the Covenant, honouring a victory of the early Afrikaners, mainly descendents of Dutch settlers, over the Zulus in an 1838 clash that became known as the Battle of Blood River.

Some Afrikaners still mark the day today.

But it is also the anniversary of the founding of Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) – the armed wing of the now ruling African National Congress, of which Mandela was the first commander in chief.

After South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994, the day was symbolically retained as a holiday and renamed Day of Reconciliation.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.