SA moves on after Mandela laid to rest

2013-12-16 22:47
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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

Pretoria - On a public holiday dedicated to reconciliation, South Africans started coming to terms with the loss of Nelson Mandela, unveiling a giant statue on Monday to honour his struggle for equality.

A day after he was buried with full honours in Qunu a 9mbronze likeness was unveiled in the vast gardens of the Union Buildings.

This is where generations of apartheid heads of state signed many of the racial laws Mandela spent most of his life fighting against, but also where he was inaugurated as South Africa's first black president in 1994.

Last week, up to 100 000 people stood there in hours-long queues to file past Mandela's open casket as he lay in state for three days.

President Jacob Zuma presided over the unveiling of the effigy of a smiling Mandela in mid-stride, arms outstretched in a welcoming gesture, sporting a trademark "Madiba shirt".

Zuma said the open-armed gesture denoted that "South Africa is now a democratic country, he is embracing the entire nation, he is advancing to the nation to say: 'let us come together, let us unite'”.

For 50 million compatriots, Mandela was not just a statesman and president, but a moral guide who led their polarised country away from internecine racial conflict.

"Yes, he has a history of struggle, and yes, he used to be a soldier, but now we wanted to create a peaceful figure that embraced the whole nation, the whole South Africa," sculptor Andre Prinsloo, who helped assemble the colossus, told AFP.

The 4.5-ton statue is the largest of many erected around the world in honour of the anti-apartheid hero.

"When one looks at comrade Madiba's statue out there... it is almost like we are hitting the last nail in the coffin of apartheid," Cyril Ramaphosa, deputy president of the ruling ANC, told the ceremony.

"Now our father is up there saying to the world we have defeated apartheid."

The towering effigy had been planned long before Mandela's death.

Built at a cost of R8m, it replaces a statue of Barry Hertzog, an Afrikaner nationalist who was prime minister of South Africa from 1924 to 1939.

Zuma thanked a representative of the Hertzog family who attended the ceremony for granting permission to move the Afrikaner's statue elsewhere in the gardens.

And he announced the Union Buildings would become a national heritage site, "to write a new and inclusive narrative for our country".

"We are now one nation and... our national symbols need to reflect that unity in diversity," the president said.

'Reconciliation, peace, that's what this is about'

South Africans gathered at the Union Buildings to follow the unveiling on big screens as a 21-gun salute rang out and air force jets flew over in a "missing man" formation usually reserved for honouring a fallen pilot.

"Reconciliation, peace, that's what this is about," said Afrikaner Retha Jansen, 63, who came to be part of history.

Zuma stressed that for true reconciliation to be possible, "glaring socio-economic disparities" still had to be corrected.

The Day of Reconciliation was first marked in 1995.

Before that, 16 December had been commemorated by Afrikaners, the custodians of apartheid, for over 150 years to mark a 1838 victory over Zulu warriors in the Battle of Blood River.

But 16 December is also the anniversary of the founding of the ANC's military wing Umkhonto we Sizwe.

Zuma described the loss of Mandela as "the moment of our greatest sorrow as the Rainbow Nation" - a term coined for country's different races uniting in peace.

But "there should be no more tears. We must celebrate and take forward his legacy," the president said.

"Let us all get back to work tomorrow, to build the South Africa that Madiba sacrificed 27 years of his life in prison for."

Ten days of official mourning ended at midnight Sunday, and the national flag went back to flying at full-mast.

Read more on:    nelson mandela

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.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

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
43 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
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.