South African sculptors Andre Prinsloo and Ruhan Janse van Vuuren have been ordered by government to remove a bronze rabbit they hid in the ear of Nelson Mandela statue.
The statue was unveiled after the former president’s death last month.
The sculptors reportedly inserted the rabbit as a trademark signature and to denote the haste with which they had to complete the statue.
Rabbit in the Afrikaans language is “haas”, which also means haste.
Nelson Mandela, who died at the age of 95, was widely acclaimed for his role in fighting white minority rule and promoting reconciliation after being elected South Africa’s first black president in 1994.
The 30-ft-bronze statue was unveiled on December 16, a day after Nelson Mandela was buried.
It stands at the Union Buildings, the government headquarters in the capital, Pretoria.
With Nelson Mandela’s hands reaching outward, the statute was intended to show that he had embraced the whole nation.
Mogomotsi Mogodiri, the spokesman for the Department of Arts and Culture, said the sculptors had apologized for any offence caused to the government and Nelson Mandela’s family by placing the rabbit in the statue’s right ear.
Andre Prinsloo and Ruhan Janse van Vuuren said they had added the rabbit to the statue after the department refused to allow them to engrave their signatures on the trousers of the statue, South Africa’s Beeld newspaper reported.
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