News / Africa

    Mandela Statue Unveiled in South Africa

    A bronze statue of the late former South African President Nelson Mandela is unveiled at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Dec. 16, 2013.
    A bronze statue of the late former South African President Nelson Mandela is unveiled at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Dec. 16, 2013.
    One day after the funeral of Nelson Mandela, a nine-meter-high statue of South Africa's first black president was unveiled at the country's official seat of government.
     
    It is a Nelson Mandela who is opening his arms and smiling that is now standing in front of the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

    South African President Jacob Zuma unveiled the bronze statue Monday as relatives of the late president watched.

    December 16 in South Africa is traditionally a public holiday that celebrates the reconciliation of the country after the end of white-minority rule.

    And the posture of Mandela in the statue, Zuma said, is highly symbolic. Unlike other statues of him, this one does not show the former president raising his fist like a freedom fighter.

    "In all the statues that have been made of Madiba, he is raising his fist. This one is different, he is stretching up his hands," said Zuma. "This denotes that South Africa is now a democratic country. He is embracing the whole nation to say let us come together. That is the interpretation of the change of how the hands are now working on this one."

    • Members of the military leave a frame on the coffin of former South African President Nelson Mandela during his funeral in Qunu, Dec. 15, 2013. 
    • South Africa's President Jacob Zuma, the ex-wife of Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela, and the widow of Mandela, Graca Machel, sit by his coffin during his funeral in Qunu, Dec. 15, 2013.
    • Graca Machel, Nelson Mandela's widow, attends his funeral in Qunu, Dec. 15, 2013. 
    • Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Nelson Mandela's former wife, and his widow Graca Machel, center, walk from the funeral service to the burial site in Qunu, Dec. 15, 2013.
    • The coffin of Nelson Mandela is taken to the burial site in Qunu, Dec. 15, 2013. 
    • The coffin of Nelson Mandela is escorted by the military to the funeral in Qunu, Dec. 15, 2013. 
    • A Madiba Beat Crew dancer mourns outside Nelson Mandela's home in Qunu, Dec. 15, 2013. (Hannah McNeish for VOA)
    • Nelson Mandela's coffin arrives at the family gravesite for burial at his ancestral village of Qunu, Dec. 15, 2013. 
    • Lance Bombardier Fumani Bulebesi holds one of the canon shells fired for Nelson Mandela's 21-gun salute, Dec. 15, 2013.  (Hannah McNeish for VOA)
    • A screengrab from the South African Broadcasting Corporation shows members of the South African armed forces standing around the coffin of Nelson Mandela before it is lowered into the ground, Dec. 15, 2013.
    • Pumane Ngocwane travelled for 12 hours to get to Qunu, South Africa and made a dress for Mandela's funeral as she wanted to be on his soil as he was lowered into his grave, Dec. 15, 2013. Hannah McNeish for VOA.
    • Local women sit at a public viewing point near the burial ground of Nelson Mandela ahead of his funeral in Qunu, Dec. 15, 2013. 
    • A Zulu man sings and dances after the funeral of Nelson Mandela in Qunu, Dec. 15, 2013. 
    • A Zulu man plays a bugle after the funeral of Nelson Mandela in Qunu, Dec. 15, 2013. 

    The statue was made by South African sculptors Ruan Janse Van Vuuren and Andre Prinsloo. For them, the idea was to create a welcoming and peaceful Madiba, to reflect what the country has become, and how the hero of the anti-apartheid struggle should be remembered: as someone who united the nation.

    "Yes, he has a history of struggle, and yes, he used to be a soldier, but now we wanted to create a peaceful figure that embraced the whole nation, the whole South Africa," said Prinsloo.

    South Africans queued Monday outside parliament, eager to lay eyes on the new statue.  

    For Zama Xulu, the statue honors the legacy of the Nobel peace prize laureate.

    "Nelson Mandela left such a big space in our hearts. He showed us what is is to build a nation. He showed us what it takes to build a forgiving society, how to love each other, to embrace each other, and together we can do so much more. So yes, he has left a big shoes to fill, but it is only up to us now to ensure that we carry on and keep the South African flag flying high through Madiba's legacy."

    Mandela passed away on December 5 at the age of 95 years old. He was laid to rest on Sunday at his ancestral home of Qunu.

    You May Like

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: John el-amin from: US
    December 16, 2013 1:40 PM
    Yes, Zuma was booed but you intentionally neglected to mentioned that Pres. Robert Mugabe, the one you American racists call a dictator, was given a rousing standing ovation.

    As an American who understands US/EU foreign policy of racism, you paint the picture of a "good" African and a "bad" African and of course , whites can do no wrong, ever.

    I hope for peace and that the African people keep US/ EU racism , warmongering, greed and capitalism OUT of Africa.
    In Response

    by: nandra from: usa
    December 16, 2013 4:42 PM
    There was no standing ovation for Mugabe.

    "And the reaction was mixed for Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, who invoked a visceral reaction of boos, but also cheering from the crowd."

    There are many in South Africa who have fled from Zimbabwe because of Mugabe. The would have booed.

    But I agree - everyone should keep their hands off Africa, including China, oil companies, and the like.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora