Statue of Nelson Mandela, Johannesburg

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The statue in November 2014

The statue of Nelson Mandela is a large bronze sculpture of the former President of South Africa and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela, located in Nelson Mandela Square in Johannesburg.


Prior to the statue's unveiling, the square had been named Sandton Square after the surrounding area of Sandton. The square was officially renamed Nelson Mandela Square on March 31, 2004.[1] Sandton City, the largest retail complex in Africa, lies behind the statue.[2] The location of the statue has been criticized due to Sandton Square's perception as a "symbol of commercial and social elitism".[3]


The statue was commissioned in July 2002 and completed in February 2004.[3] It was unveiled in the square on March 31, 2004.[4] It was sculpted by Kobus Hattingh and Jacob Maponyane.[3]

The statue was erected in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of South Africa's first democratic elections.[3][4] It was the first-ever public statue of Mandela and was unveiled by his eldest granddaughter, Ndileka Mandela, who said of the statue that "While we honour Nelson Mandela in this statue, we are also honouring South Africa. He's not just a grandfather to us, but to the whole nation".[3] A box for donations for the Nelson Mandela Foundation was placed beside the statue.[3]


The statue stands 6 metres (20 ft) high and measures 2.3 metres (7 ft 7 in) from elbow to elbow.[3] The statue weighs 2.5 tons.[3] It has been described as "towering", "imposing", and a "focal point" for the entire area.[4][5][self-published source]

The statue depicts Mandela wearing his Madiba shirt and dancing in what was referred to at the unveiling as the "Madiba jive".[3][6] Basetsana Kumalo, the master of ceremonies at the statue's unveiling, said that it was "a very happy statue. The dancing stance pays tribute to the spirit of joy and celebration inherent in the people of South Africa – this is the Madiba jive".[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kasuka, Bridgette (2012). Prominent African Leaders Since Independence. Bankole Kamara Taylor. p. 502. ISBN 1470043580.
  2. ^ Sandton City. "History of the center - Sandton City". Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Chandrea Gerber. "Joburg unveils Mandela statue". South Africa Info - Joburg unveils Mandela statue. South Africa Info. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "Nelson Mandela Square". Best of South Africa. 1 (1): 10. ISBN 1-904566-72-3.
  5. ^ Rapu, Nkoyo (2013). Shining Statues: Take a Stand and Shine for God!. Xlibris Corporation. p. 5. ISBN 1483646734.
  6. ^ Lizzie Williams (2007). Johannesburg: The Bradt City Guide. Bradt Travel Guides. pp. 137–. ISBN 978-1-84162-176-0.