30-foot statue of Nelson Mandela unveiled in South Africa

Dec. 16, 2013 at 10:26 AM

PRETORIA, South Africa, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- South African President Jacob Zuma unveiled a statue of Nelson Mandela Monday, saying the former leader's arms are outstretched to embrace the country.

The nearly 30-foot bronze statue was unveiled at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Reconciliation Day, which commemorates the end of apartheid, SAnews.gov.sa reported.

The statue of Mandela was erected on the southern lawns in the spot where a statue of former Prime Minister Barry Hertzog stood, the news website said. The statue of Hertzog was moved to the eastern part of the Delville Wood War Memorial.

Instead of depicting Mandela in his typical manner with fist raised to symbolize the African National Congress' slogan of "Amandla nag Wethu," or "Power to the People," the sculptor showed Mandela with his arms outstretched to symbolize a democratic South Africa united.

"He is embracing the country. Both hands are embracing the entire nation," Zuma said.

The bronze sculpture was created by poet, artist and sculptor Pitika Ntuli.

"This statue has been constructed in a way that it has open arms that is welcoming the world to embrace a united nation, a nation in the process of reconciling with its painful past," Ntuli said.

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