Giant Nelson Mandela Statue Has A Quirk That Angers South Africans | Roland Martin Reports

Giant Nelson Mandela Statue Has A Quirk That Angers South Africans

Source: AP / CBS News

JOHANNESBURG – A new, 29.5-foot sculpture of Nelson Mandela is billed as the biggest statue of the South African leader. It also has a tiny, barely visible quirk: a sculpted rabbit tucked inside one of the bronze ears.

South African officials want the miniature bunny removed from the statue, which was unveiled outside the government complex in Pretoria, the capital, on Dec. 16, a day after Mandela’s funeral. The department of arts and culture said it didn’t know the two sculptors, Andre Prinsloo and Ruhan Janse van Vuuren, had added a rabbit, said to be a discreet signature on their work.

South Africa’s Beeld newspaper quoted the artists as saying they added the rabbit as a “trademark” after officials would not allow them to engrave their signatures on the statue’s trousers. They also said the rabbit represented the pressure of finishing the sculpture on time because “haas” – the word for rabbit in the Dutch-based Afrikaans language – also means “haste.”

Paul Mashatile, arts and culture minister, said the sculptors have apologized for any offense to those who felt the rabbit was disrespectful toward the legacy of Mandela.

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