New Madiba statue allows the blind to 'see'

The 1m tall replica statue of Nelson Mandela that will be unveiled on Friday on Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton, Johannesburg.
The 1m tall replica statue of Nelson Mandela that will be unveiled on Friday on Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton, Johannesburg.
Image: Supplied/Clockwork Media

A new statue at Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton is aimed at making the "impossible possible" by letting visually impaired people "see" the late statesman.

Exxaro mining‚ Rotarians of Rotary District 9400‚ the Nelson Mandela Foundation‚ the South African National Council for the Blind and Stanlib partnered to create the 1m replica of the Mandela statue that will be unveiled by the struggle icon's widow Graça Machel in Sandton on Friday afternoon.

Exxaro CEO Mxolisi Mgojo said they wanted to make the "impossible possible".

"By enabling the visually impaired to touch and interact with the famous Madiba statue‚ a privilege many of us take for granted‚ we will enable them to 'see' the statue in their own special way.

"The ultimate aim of this unique collaboration is to spread the magic of Madiba and also raise awareness of the plight of visually impaired people in Africa and beyond‚" Mgojo said.

The statue was made by Kobus Hattingh‚ the same sculptor who - along with Jacob Maponyane - made the 6m Mandela statue which was unveiled at the square in March 2004.

Hattingh‚ who is based in Mooinooi‚ North West‚ also sculpted the 6.5m Madiba statue at Naval Hill in Bloemfontein‚ among other artworks.

Netwerk24 reported in 2014 that Hattingh knew Madiba personally and visited his Houghton home six times.

"I came to the realisation that everyone who said beautiful things about him did not exaggerate in any way. It’s all true and more. His insight as well as the genuine humility with which he treated ordinary people will always stick with me."

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