Mandela statue unveiled in Ramallah

The statue has been erected at a traffic circle that will now be called Mandela Square.

Palestinian and South African officials stand next to a giant statue of Nelson Mandela during its inauguration ceremony in the West Bank city of Ramallah on 26 April 2016. Picture: Abbas Momani/AFP.

JERUSALEM - A six-metre bronze sculpture of Mandela, the first of its kind outside South Africa, has been unveiled in the Palestinian city of Ramallah.

A gift from the Johannesburg Municipality, it has been erected at a traffic circle that will now aptly be called Mandela Square.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas joined South African and Palestinian dignitaries to mark the occasion.

It was with great excitement that the statue, which arrived in Ramallah over the weekend, was unveiled to show a towering six-metre tall Madiba.

Shipped from South Africa more than a week ago, J ohannesburg mayor Parks Tau said it was a symbol of friendship, solidarity and inspiration.

Talking to Eyewitness News from Ramallah, excited city residents say it's proof that Mandela's spirit is in Ramallah, and that the biggest friend of the Palestinian people was finally in town.

The city's mayor said he was convinced no one was more fitting than Mandela to be an ambassador for freedom and justice.

The statue took seven months to produce.

Palestinians are hoping it will become a major tourist attraction.