Nelson Mandela, one of the greatest world leaders, passed away on December 5th. To commemorate the revolutionary and philanthropist, a statue has been resurrected in his honor in South Africa’s capital, Pretoria. The statue stands outside of the government’s headquarters, known as the Union Buildings, and shows a smiling Mandela with his arms outstretched, smiling at those he welcomes to his home country. The Union Buildings is where Mandala delivered his inaugural speech after becoming South Africa’s first black president in 1994 at the end of minority rule. Mandala was known as a man of peace, and urged South Africans to set aside their differences and unite as one nation. His arms outstretched represent the openness and equality that Mandela had advocated for, and symbolize that he embraced the entire nation.
photo via Buzzfeed
After passing away at 95, the statue was unveiled the day after he was buried. The statue stands at thirty feet high, and the current South African President Jacob Zuma spoke to the media about the statue saying, “As your journey ends today, ours must continue in earnest… South Africa will continue to rise because we dare not fail you.” The statue was unveiled on South Africa’s Day of Reconciliation, a holiday that commemorates the end of racial conflict in the country. “Former President Mandela is associated with the promotion of reconciliation which is why the day was chosen for the unveiling,” said the government. The national flag was raised at half-mast, and flew behind the statue as it was unveiled.