Now is the right time to erect a statue of Mandela, says eThekwini

2014-01-31 00:00

DURBAN Mayor James Nxumalo said now was the right time for the city to erect a statue of the late former president Nelson Mandela.

“Those who have served their communities selflessly at various levels are honoured like this once they die,” Nxumalo said, conceding that statues of Mandela had been erected prior to his death.

“This was because people trusted him and believed that he would not change — and he never changed prior to his death.”

According to Nxumalo, considering that over the past six years the municipality has invested R7 billion in the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC), uShaka Marine World theme park and the Moses Mabhida stadium, among other facilities, it was time there was a statue of Mandela.

“It would be an anomaly not to have the statue here in eThekwini,” he said.

“We have some facilities and venues named after Madiba, but this statue will be a sign of how highly we regard him for the role he played in the lives of South Africans and the world at large.”

On Wednesday, around 300 municipal officials and councillors who attended the official opening of the eThekwini municipal council voted unanimously to erect a statue of Mandela to preserve his memory and legacy in the city.

The council mandated municipal manager S’bu Sithole to investigate a possible location for the statue as well as the financial implications of its creation. Sithole has until the end of February to submit his findings and recommendations to the executive committee.

Nxumalo said the size of the statue would be informed by Sithole’s report, but that it was desirable that it was of a height that could be seen from afar.

Mandela’s grandson Mandla Mandela said the family approved of the project. “We can only be thankful that eThekwini Municipality have decided to erect a statue to remember Inkosi Dalibhunga.”

Political analyst Protas Madlala agreed with Nxumalo that now was the time for a statue.

“Statues are gestures of remembrance, they make more sense after a person’s death,” said Madlala. “Mandela was an African, a unifier who fought racism and ethnicism.”

He said in some odd cases, former homeland rulers would erect their statues while they were still alive.

The announcement of the statue comes as the uMngeni Municipality heads into the second phase of developing the Mandela Capture Site just outside Howick.

Following the creation of the sculpture depicting Mandela’s profile, a museum is to be built.

The contract for the construction of the museum is currently out to tender.

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