eThekwini Municipality postpones indefinitely unveiling sculptor of R20mln statues

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DURBAN, January 9 – eThekwini Municipality has decided to indefinitely postpone the unveiling of the R20 million statues of South Africa’s liberation struggle icons, Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo, by a young sculptor.

The City was also set to unveil possible designs for the statues will also be unveiled and shed light on their location within the city.

“This is to bring to the attention of all members of the media that the aforementioned press briefing that was scheduled to take place tomorrow 10 January 2019, has been postponed indefinitely. We sincerely apologise in advance for the inconvenience that may emanate from this postponement,” it said in a terse statement.

Durban-based sculptor, Lungelo Gumede, was confirmed as the sculptor who won the lucrative tender to design and make the iconic statues.

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 City confirmed that two giant statues of world icons in the form of former president Mandela and erstwhile president of the African National Congress Tambo 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. Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa was expected to attend the unveiling of the sculptor on Thursday.

Thembinkosi Ngcobo, head of parks in eThekwini, in an interview with eNCA dismissed criticism against the price tag of the statues, saying that the statues represented cultural identity. (ANA)