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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact 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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs