Four-storey sculpture commemorates Mandela

Cape Town, South Africa (PANA) – A day after the world’s largest statue of Nelson Mandela was unveiled at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, a striking four-storey sculpture has been completed at the Eastern Cape's newest rural school to commemorate Mandela's commitment to education.

Internationally-recognised artist Daniel Popper, has completed the 11-metre giant Tree of Wisdom at the new Mandela School of Science and Technology, which opens in January 2014 in Mandela's Mvezo birthplace on the banks of the Mbashe River.

"Like Mandela's legacy, this sculpture will last forever," Popper said of the giant artwork, which rises above the school buildings.

The black granite base of the sculpture has quotes of wisdom from Mandela.

The Mandela School of Science & Technology was built by global engineering firm, Siemens, at a cost of US$ 10 million, in partnership with the Department of Basic Education and the Mvezo Development Trust.

It is the first high school in the area, built following a commitment made by Siemens to Mandela in 2010 during the company's celebration of 150 years in South Africa.

"Madiba famously said that education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world, and the new Mandela School is part of Siemens' contribution to vital science and technology education in South Africa," said Siemens executive director, Rita Nkuhlu.

The Tree of Wisdom is built on a monumental scale from galvanized steel with a granite base surrounded by a durable wooden deck. It weighs approximately four tonnes. The sculpture was built at the Rootform Art Factory in Salt River, Cape Town.

After the steel components were bent and welded into shape, the whole sculpture was cut into pieces and bolted together. It was then dismantled and transported 1,290 kilometres by truck to Mvezo, where it was erected outside the hall at the school.

On Monday, a nine-metre high statue was unveiled showing a smiling Mandela with his arms stretched out and looking out over the capital city Pretoria.

Unveiling the bronze-plated statue, President Jacob Zuma said it showed Mandela embracing the whole nation.  

The US$ 800,000 statue was created by South African sculptors, Andre Prinsloo and Ruhan Janse van Vuuren.

Mandela died earlier this month after a long battle with a recurring lung infection.
-0- PANA CU/VAO 18Dec2013

18 december 2013 14:07:58

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