Media Statement by Minister Mashatile at the announcement of plans for the Mandela Statue at the Union Buildings; Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory

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26 Sep 2013

Programme Director

CEO of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, Sello Hatang

Sculptors Andre Prinsloo & Ruhan Jansen Van Vuuren

Officials from the Department of Arts and Culture

Members of the Media

Ladies and Gentlemen

Thank you all for coming

We have called you today to this media briefing to give more information on our plans to mount the statue of Tata Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings.

This will be done as part of the Union Buildings’ centenary celebrations this year.

His Excellency the President of the Republic of South Africa, President Jacob Zuma, will unveil Tata Madiba’s statue at the Union Buildings on the 16th of December this year.

To us this is an important event as Tata Madiba is the founding father of our democratic nation.

In addition, he remains an enduring symbol of our struggle for freedom, democracy, dignity and equality for all.

The Union Buildings, on the other hand, has for many years been a symbol of white minority domination.

Today, it is the official seat of the democratic government, indicating the progress we are making in transforming symbols of our past to now reflect the new society we are building.

The mounting of Tata Madiba’s statue at the Union Buildings 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.

As we know, it was Tata Madiba and his generation of freedom fighters who taught us the values of selflessness, humility, integrity and respect for one another. They also pioneered the path to national reconciliation and nation-building.

As current and future generations of South Africans we will follow on their footsteps.

Through the monuments we are building in honour of our heroes and heroines, such as Tata Madiba’s statue at the Union Buildings, we will ensure that we never forget their contribution to where we are today; that we always remember what they taught us and that we preserve their proud legacy.

It is fitting that Tata Madiba’s statue at the Union Buildings will be mounted as our country prepares to celebrate the historic milestone of the twentieth anniversary of our Freedom and Democracy, next year in 2014.

Ladies and Gentlemen; Tata Madiba’s statue will be nine meters tall and will be coated in bronze.

The statue is currently under construction and the artists responsible for its design and construction are South African artists; Andre Prinsloo and Ruhan Jansen Van Vuuren.

They have worked with many other artists on this project and we thank them for assist us to honour Tata Madiba in this way.

All of these artists are also working on the National Heritage Monument, to be built in Tshwane.

The monument will feature a procession of more than four hundred life size bronze statues of various leaders who contributed in shaping the kind of society we are today; leaders who left a legacy worth preserving for current and future generations.

In the coming months we will also be launching a stamp and coins in celebration of Tata Madiba’s legacy.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we will continue to acknowledge and celebrate all those who sacrificed for us to enjoy the freedom that we today enjoy.

This we will do by building more monuments in their honour; ensuring that their stories of courage and determination are told in full and that they become part of the new and inclusive narrative we are crafting for our country.

As we do this we will create employment opportunities, transform our heritage landscape, and contribute to social cohesion, nation building and national healing.

We once more take this opportunity to wish Tata Madiba well as he recovers from his home.

Thank you.