Rabbit in Mandela statue to be removed

Pretoria - The tiny rabbit cast in the right ear of the statue of former president Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings in Pretoria is to be removed.

Beeld reported on Tuesday that the department of arts and culture had written to sculptors Ruhan Janse van Vuuren and André Prinsloo, asking them to remove the rabbit as soon as possible.

The sculptors were also asked to make a formal apology to the Mandela family.

Beeld reported last week that the sculptors had placed the rabbit in the ear as a "small trademark" after being told they were not allowed to add their signatures to the trousers of the nine-metre bronze statue. They said the rabbit symbolised the tight deadline they were working under, as "haas" (rabbit) in Afrikaans also translated as haste.

The sculptors insisted there was no hidden meaning behind the placing of the rabbit in Mandela's ear, and said they were surprised it was discovered so soon, as the tiny rabbit could only be seen through binoculars or a strong zoom lens.

The department of arts and culture did not respond to requests for comment.

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