The shiny, nine-metre sculpture of Madiba (Nelson Mandela) in Pretoria is proudly touted as the biggest statue of the late South African leader* in the world. It also has a tiny, barely visible feature: a bronze, sculpted hare tucked inside the statue’s left ear.
Disconcerted government officials want the miniature squatter removed from the statue, which was unveiled outside the government complex in the capital, the day after Madiba’s funeral. The Department of Arts & Culture said it did not know the two sculptors, Andre Prinsloo & Ruhan Janse van Vuuren, had added the figure, said to be a discreet signature on their work.
The bronze hare, sitting & with one floppy ear, is about half the height of the ear canal.
“It doesn’t belong there,” said government spokesman Mogomotsi Mogodiri. “The statue should represent what everyone in South Africa is proud of.”
His department said in a statement that they are discussing “how best to retain the integrity of the monument without causing any visible damage or disfigurement”.
Or in English, “How to pull the damned hare out of the ear without screwing-up the statue.”
*& All -round “good guy” once the media had decided he wasn’t a terrorist after all.