13 December 2013

South Africa: Mandela's Statue to Be Erected At Presidency Next Week - Government

Johannesburg — The anti-apartheid icon Mandela's statue will be erected at the Presidency next week, the South African government announced on Thursday.

President Jacob Zuma will unveil the former president Mandela's statue at the Presidency (Union Buildings) on Monday, said the Department of Arts and Culture in a statement.

The statue is made of bronze with a height of 9 meters.

On December 5 Mandela passed away at his residence in Johannesburg at the age of 95.

His body has been lying in state at the Presidency building since Wednesday before being eventually buried at his home village of Qunu in the southern province of the Eastern Cape on Sunday.

"The unveiling of the statue is intended as acknowledgement of the contribution of the first president of a democratic South Africa, a symbol of national reconciliation and unity," said the statement.

Monday is the Day of Reconciliation in South Africa, which is held annually on December 16 since the democracy was established in 1994, aimed at fostering the national unity.

Mandela was sworn in as the first democratically-elected president in May in 1994, succeeded by F. W. de Klerk in June in 1999.

"The installation of the statue at the Union Buildings is part of the department's ongoing work to develop new symbols and monuments that reflect our collective aspirations as South Africans and the new values we stand for," the statement said.

The department hoped that it could become a site of pilgrimage for domestic and international visitors.

On Tuesday the national memorial service for Mandela was held at the South African largest stadium of FNB Stadium here, attended by the officials of South Africa and 90 more countries as well as the international organizations like the United Nations and African Union.

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