Zuma to unveil Madiba statue
A nine-metre high bronze statue will be unveiled at the Union Buildings this morning.
JOHANNESBURG - On this Day of Reconciliation, a statue of Nelson Mandela will be unveiled at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
President Jacob Zuma is expected to unveil the nine-metre high bronze sculpture, which is intended to acknowledge the contribution Madiba made to the country, and as a symbol of national reconciliation and unity.
The nine-metre high bronze statue is draped in a black silk cloth, with only its shoes protruding out the bottom.
The statue depicts Madiba walking with arms stretched outwards.
Zuma will formally unveil the statue at 10am, before leading a ceremony to declare the Union Buildings a grade one national heritage site.
Political parties represented in Parliament are expected to attend the event, as are members of Madiba's family.
The unveiling of the statue also marks the centenary celebrations of the Union Buildings.
This morning, high ranking government officials led by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe attended an interfaith service in Freedom Park to commemorate the Day of Reconciliation.
Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile and Executive Mayor of Tshwane, Kgosientso Ramokgopa, are attending the ceremony.
This morning's program is expected to include prayers by different religious leaders around the Isivivane, which is where officials at Freedom Park say the spirits of the dead lie.
Traditional leaders at the event say they are also calling on Madiba's spirit to look after South Africa and to rest in peace.
More than 100 people have already gathered with their bare feet for the ceremony.
Walking bare foot is seen as a symbol of respect for the ancestors.