Jacob Zuma to unveil Mandela statue next week

2013-12-12 16:41

President Jacob Zuma will unveil a 9m-high bronze statue of former president Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings in Pretoria next week, says the arts and culture department.

“The unveiling of the statue on December 16 [Monday] is intended as an acknowledgement of the contribution of the first president of a democratic South Africa, a symbol of national reconciliation and unity,” it said in a statement today.

“Hopefully, it will become a site of pilgrimage for domestic and international visitors.”

Monday, the Day of Reconciliation, also marks the commemoration of the centenary of the Union Buildings.

“The installation of Tata Madiba’s statue at the Union Buildings is part of the department’s ... ongoing work to develop new symbols and monuments that reflect our collective aspirations as South Africans and the new values we stand for,” the department said.

Mandela died at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, last Thursday, at the age of 95. An official memorial service was held at FNB Stadium in Soweto on Tuesday.

His body has been lying in state at the Union Buildings since Wednesday. He will be buried at Qunu in the Eastern Cape on Sunday.

Zuma said at the memorial service on Tuesday that the amphitheatre at the Union Buildings would be renamed the Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre in his honour.

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