Two statues of the late former President Nelson Mandela were unveiled on Tuesday, one in Mthatha and the other in Qunu in the Eastern Cape province, as part of Nelson Mandela Day celebrations.
The two statues unveiled at Bhunga Building in Mthatha and Youth and Heritage Centre in Qunu, serve as a tribute to Nelson Mandela’s impact on South Africa and the world. They also commemorate the 67 years he dedicated to the fight against apartheid and discrimination.
Unveiling the statue in Qunu, President Cyril Ramaphosa noted that while there are many monuments paying tribute to Madiba across South Africa, as well as across Africa and many parts of the world, for South Africans to be able to honour the father of our nation at his place of birth, meant a lot.
He said the making of the statues was something that government has been working towards for some time.
“Since 2021 the Eastern Cape Provincial Heritage Resource Agency, the Mandela family, the Nelson Mandela Museum and the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture have been driving this process – a process that included public consultation,” Ramaphosa said.
The statue in Mthatha depicts Madiba in the role for which he was most well-known, a statesman, while the statue in Qunu depicts him in the attire of his Xhosa-Tembu culture, “reminding us of the traditional values he lived by and that shaped his consciousness”.
Ramaphosa called on the people of Qunu to protect and look after the sites of memorialisation and commemoration, adding that he has no doubt they have the potential to attract tourists, which will in turn support business and job creation.