On a public holiday dedicated to reconciliation, South Africans have started to come to terms with the loss of Nelson Mandela, unveiling a giant statue to honour his struggle for equality.
A day after the democracy icon was buried with full honours in his boyhood village, a nine-metre bronze likeness was unveiled on Monday on the lawns of the Union Buildings, the seat of government in Pretoria.
This is where generations of apartheid Heads of State signed many of the
racial laws that Mandela spent most of his life fighting against, and also where Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa’s first black president in 1994.
A 9-meter bronze statue of South African former president Nelson Mandela was unveiled on December 16, 2013 on the lawns of the Union Buildings, the seat of government in Pretoria where Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa’s first black president in 1994.
Last week, the venue saw up to 100,000 people stand in hours-long queues to file past the statesman’s open casket in a last token of respect as he lay in state for three days.
President Jacob Zuma presided over the unveiling of the giant statue of a broadly smiling Mandela in mid-stride, arms stretched out in a welcoming gesture, sporting his trademark “Madiba shirt”.
Zuma said the position of the arms (of the statue of Mandela) “denotes that South Africa is now a democratic country, he is embracing the entire nation, he is advancing to the nation to say: ‘let us come together, lets us unite’ “.
Built at a cost of about 8 million rand ($A896,860), the statue replaces one of Barry Hertzog, an Afrikaner nationalist and general who was prime minister of South Africa from 1924 to 1939.