New Mandela statue for Parliament

17 May 2013

A new statue of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first democratically elected president, will be mounted at the Union Buildings in Pretoria and Parliament in Cape Town, Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile announced on Thursday.

Tabling his department’s budget vote in Parliament, Mashatile said the decision to erect the statue, which has already been commissioned, followed calls from MPs.

Mashatile also announced that South Africa would start a year-long campaign to celebrate 20 years of democratic governance in the country. The festivities will culminate next year on 27 April – the day on which all South Africans voted together in one election for the first time.

“Our build-up programme will allow us to highlight and celebrate our achievements; to make the point, once more, that South Africa is a better country than it was before our liberation,” Mashatile said.

The festivities will also promote the National Development Plan, Vision 2030, as drawn up by the National Planning Commission, which defines South Africa’s long-term vision of eliminating poverty and reducing inequality by the year 2030.

Apart from the 100th anniversary of the Union Buildings, this year also marks the centenary of the proclamation of the Native Land Act. To commemorate this, Cape Town’s Iziko Museum will be hosting an exhibition entitled “Umhlaba 1913 to 2013”.

The Arts and Culture Department is also collaborating with the Department of Rural Development to document the legacy of the Native Land Act.

Mashatile told Parliament that his department was negotiating for the homecoming of the remains of Chief Dawid Stuurman, the Khoi chief who twice escaped from Robben Island before being exiled to Australia, where he died.

South Africa has also identified sites in Angola, Botswana, Zambia and Lesotho for inclusion in a Liberation Heritage Route that will link “sites and individuals of significance to the South African struggle for liberation throughout the continent”.

Talks about building a monument at the place where Nelson Mandela received military training in 1962 have been held with the government of Ethiopia, Mashatile added.