Union Buildings Amphitheatre renamed in honour of Madiba

2013-12-10 15:33

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Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma has announced that the Union Buildings' amphitheatre will be renamed in honour of SA's first democratically elected president, the late Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

 It will now be called the Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre.

The announcement was made during President Zuma's address at the Madiba Memorial Service held at the FNB stadium on Tuesday.

Neslon Mandela's body will lay in state for a period of three days at the Union building before his official state funeral in his hometown of Qunu.

In 1994 the buildings played host to the inauguration of former President Mandela, heralding the beginning of a new era in South Africa's history.

The Presidency.gov.za website describes the Union Buildings as an ancient temple adorning over the city of Pretoria. 

"Standing as the  highest point of South Africa's capital city, Pretoria, it forms the official seat of South Africa's government and houses The Presidency as well as the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Designed by Sir Herbert Baker in 1908, building began in 1909 and was completed in 1913. It took approximately 1265 artisans, workmen and labourers almost three years to construct, using 14 million bricks for the interior office walls, half a million cubic feet of freestone, 74 000 cubic yards of concrete, 40 000 bags of cement and 20 000 cubic feet of granite.

The buildings represent a decadent layer of South Africa'a history. Originally built to house the entire Public Service for the Union of South Africa, it was then the largest building in the country and possible the largest building work undertaken in the Southern Hemisphere at that time.




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