S. Africa to erect Mandela's statue at presidency

Johannesburg, Sep 27 (IANS) The South African government Thursday announced that it is building a nine-meter bronze-coated statue of Nelson Mandela to be erected at the presidency in Pretoria in December.

This was revealed by Minister of Arts and Culture Paul Mashatile while addressing the media at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Johannesburg, Xinhua reported.

The minister said the statue is a continued recognition of the role played by the anti-apartheid icon in liberating the country and fighting for social justice.

"The mounting of Madela's statue at the presidency is part of our ongoing work to develop new symbols and monuments that reflect our collective aspirations as South Africans and the new values we stand for," Mashatile said.

"He remains our symbol of our struggle for freedom, democracy, dignity and equality for all," added the minister.

The statue would be unveiled Dec 16 by South Africa's President Jacob Zuma.

The presidency had been for years a symbol of white domination and oppression until 1994.

The statue is being built by South Africa's renowned sculptors Andre Prinsloo and Ruhan Van Vuuren.

"I am proud to be involved in such a project. The statue shows Mandela's opening arms to embrace the nation. The statue shows a symbol of openness and peace," Prinsloo said.

Mandela is the South African first democratically-elected president, being regarded as a symbol of social justice, freedom and reconciliation.