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

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More