A young sculptor who won the tender to craft the N$20 million statues of South Africa's liberation struggle icons Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo will be officially unveiled on Thursday, the eThekwini Municipality has said.
Durban-based sculptor Lungelo Gumede has produced many statues of leading political and non-political figures and has bagged the multi-million rand tender.
In 2016, the then unknown Gumede unveiled a life-size wax statue of the late gospel musician Sfiso Ncwane during his funeral at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
In a statement on Tuesday, the municipality confirmed that the two giant statues of the world icons are to be erected in Durban.
The statues are expected to be one of the city's "quintessential tourist attractions" once unveiled later this year in July and September respectively. The municipality also said that possible designs for the statues will also be unveiled and eThekwini will also shed light on their location within the city. Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa is expected to attend the unveiling of the sculptor.
Thembinkosi Ngcobo, head of parks in eThekwini, in an interview with eNCA dismissed criticism against the price tag of the statues, saying they represented cultural identity.
"In politics there is nothing more important that the politics of identity. Whoever that will oppose this is someone who is going to be benefiting if black people were to be less united than they are now because they will have some benefit out of those divisions," Ngcobo said. "All black people should know that the more they talk about their struggles and preserve the narrative of their struggles, they are more likely to remain united." - NAMPA/ANA