Shaka statue rises again

2011-09-03 00:00

MORE than a year after the “undesirable” statue of King Shaka was banished from King Shaka International Airport, four proposals for a replacement more to the liking of the Zulu Royal Household have been shortlisted.

The statue of Shaka was removed from the entrance of the new Durban airport, named after him in June last year, after a complaint from the Zulu royal family that the artwork depicted the warrior King as a “herd boy”.

The removal of the R3 million sculptural scene depicting Shaka surrounded with Nguni cattle, and the plans to erect a new one, have been described as “wasteful expenditure” by opposition parties, who felt that the royal family should have been consulted before the first one was commissioned.

Weekend Witness has learnt that the frontrunner among the four is Howick-based sculptor Peter Hall, who sculpted a R600 000 statue of King Dinuzulu. The statue is situated at Berea Park in Durban next to that of General Louis Botha.

The Premier is expected to make the announcement on the successful proposal before the end of next week.

Ndabezinhle Sibiya, spokesperson for KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize, said the shortlisted proposals were selected from hundreds that were submitted since the start of the process last year.

“We were overwhelmed by submissions of artistic impressions of King Shaka which came from all races across South Africa. We received more than 100 artistic expressions on how the statue of King Shaka should look,” Sibiya said.

Sibiya said the team overseeing the production of the new sculpture consists of members of the royal family, historians and academics “to ensure that the final work reflected different features of history”.

Amongst them are Professor Musa Xulu, Dr Vusi Shongwe and Dr Brian Thusi from the heritage directorate, UKZN-based historian Jabu Sithole.

Sibiya said the office of the premier will continue to consult widely before the final work is selected and, as part of their consultation, the final proposals will be published in various newspapers to allow members of the public to participate in the selection process.

“We hope that this whole selection process will be completed within the next few months,” Sibiya said.

Premier Mkhize said, “The response received showed that our heritage belongs to everyone. We received proposals from Africans, Indians, whites, coloureds across the country. This is a strong message that we are indeed a Rainbow Nation.”

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