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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid