Jacob Zuma unveils giant Mandela statue
A 9-metre-tall statue of former South African president and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela was unveiled Monday at the seat of government, a day after his tribute-laden funeral capped 10 days of mourning South African President Jacob Zuma unveiled the bronze statue Monday at Union Buildings in Pretoria.
The bronze statue depicts a smiling Mandela, who died on December 5, aged 95, with his hands raised and stretched out.
“Both hands uniting the entire nation, for us to unite as a rainbow nation,” said Mr. Zuma.
Last week, the government renamed the amphitheatre of the buildings as the Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre.
The event takes place on the 100th anniversary of the construction of the Union Buildings, originally built by the white minority as the headquarters of the merged English and Afrikaners governments, representing the descendants of the European colonialists.
After 1948, the buildings became home to the apartheid government, which strictly imposed racial segregation and enacted policies to solely benefit the whites while disenfranchising the blacks.
Mandela was elected in 1994, becoming the first black president to govern from Union Buildings. Previously, he had been jailed for 27 years for his role in the fight against apartheid.
His move to the buildings changed the way South Africans saw them.
They shifted from being a place of exclusion to one where the majority is represented.
The event came on what is commemorated annually as Reconciliation Day, a public holiday created after the fall of apartheid to help bridge the gaps between blacks and whites.