Thousands flock to Madiba statue

2012-12-28 00:00

BLOEMFONTEIN — Thousands of people are streaming to the giant new statue of former president Nelson Mandela, which looks over the city from the top of Naval Hill, and entrepreneurs are making a mint.

Freelance photographer Itumeleng Mothobi said that more than 1 000 people climbed the winding path on the Day of Goodwill. They included tourists from France and Portugal.

He and other photographers take pictures of visitors and print them on- site using a portable printer.

“Some days there are 25 photographers here. Most people take photographs themselves with their own cameras or cellphones,” he said.

The photographers have come to an agreement and take turns to snap their subjects.

“We each take about 20 photos a day for R20 each,” Mothobi said.

He said the busiest days were during and just after the ANC’s Mangaung conference.

When sister paper Volksblad was there yesterday, streams of cars were driving up.

Leanne Posthumus (54), her son, and grandchildren were taking pictures at the giant statue.

“It’s very special, this statue. I was initially concerned about security on Naval Hill, but then I saw the guards.

“It’s an honour for Bloemfontein to have the statue here,” she said.

Natasha Kok (27) and Jermaine May (26), both from Bloemfontein, said the statue was an inspiration.

“It is very nice and a good thing thing that Madiba has been honoured like this,” said Kok.

“We are praying for him to get better quickly, because we want our chldren to be able to see him one day.”

Wase Belot (20), also from Bloemfontein, said the statue was impressive. “It is good that there is a piece of South Africa’s heritage on the koppie,” said Belot.

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