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Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) | by Lawrence OP
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Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)

On 5 August 1962, an otherwise ordinary piece of road along the R103, roughly three kilometres outside Howick in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province, suddenly took on profound consequence. Armed apartheid police flagged down a car in which Nelson Mandela was pretending to be the chauffeur.

 

Marking the 50-year anniversary of what began Nelson Mandela's "long walk to freedom" - and the piece of land that, quite randomly, irrevocably altered the history of South Africa - is a quietly powerful new sculpture, set into the environment of this silently potent space.

 

The extraordinary sculpture by artist Marco Cianfanelli comprises 50 steel column constructions - each between 6.5 and 9.5 metres tall - set into the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands landscape.

 

The approach to the site, designed by architect Jeremy Rose of Mashabane Rose Associates, leads one down a path towards the sculpture where, at a distance of 35 metres, a portrait of Nelson Mandela, looking west, comes into focus as the 50 linear vertical units line up to create the illusion of a flat image.

 

Cianfanelli says of the deliberate structural paradox: "The 50 columns represent the 50 years since his capture, but they also suggest the idea of many making the whole; of solidarity.

"It points to an irony, as the political act of Mandela's incarceration cemented his status as an icon of struggle, which helped ferment the groundswell of resistance, solidarity and uprising, bringing about political change and democracy."

 

Today, 5 December 2013, as Nelson Mandela marches into the freedom of God's eternity, we pray that he may rest in peace and inspire many to walk in his footsteps.

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Taken on August 18, 2013