A CHANCE encounter with the company Global Scrap Metal allowed Durban University of Technology (DUT) student Minenhle Nxele to flex his artistic talent and create a 3D sculpture of late president and political stalwart Nelson Mandela. The 23-year-old’s potential was spotted when his curriculum vitae came into the hands of businessman Yugan Govender, who said he noticed Nxele after he applied for the position of scale assistant at his company. Nxele was then approached by Govender’s company, which had delved into creating animal sculptures, who asked him to come on board and start making dinosaur sculptures which were to be put on display at various branch sites in Pietermaritzburg. After completing various animal sculptures, Nxele was then tasked with creating a face and Govender said that the idea to create Madiba’s face was an easy and effortless one. Nxele said it took him months and 12 000 scrap metal pipes to create the 3D sculpture of Madiba’s face: “It took me three months to complete this sculpture and it ended up being three metres high by two metres wide because of the casting steel,” said Nxele. “The Mandela face sculpture will be displayed at a new branch on the corner of Boshoff and Greyling Street next month,” said Govender, who added that projects like this one are encouraged by his business — which pays market-related salaries to learners who are taught to weld and bend metals at his workshops. Govender said that his company was determined to use metal art to uplift and empower the unemployed youth in the city. Nxele said after creating the Mandela metal art, he felt as though he had built a house and now would be looking for any kind of sponsors so that he could continue in his studies next year. “I would be so grateful to any sponsors who would donate towards my studies and would be more than happy to create art by partnering up with them, should they wish to help me,” said Nxele.