President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday unveiled a life-size statue of Mandela at the UN General Assembly, New York.
Ramaphosa said at the unveiling: “We trust that this statue will remain a constant reminder to the international community of the dedication of Nelson Mandela to the mission of the United Nations and a constant affirmation of South Africa’s commitment to contribute to a better world for all.”
South Africans on social media, however, are largely unimpressed with the statue, which they say does not look a whole lot like its subject.
The main complaint appeared to be the hair, with some saying it was too straight and made the iconic former SA president look white.
These views have not come from random Twitter users but from sources such as columnist Pinky Khoabane, Deputy Public Protector Kevin Sifiso Malunga, and 702 host Gugulethu Mhlungu.
Looking at this Mandela Statue, it's no wonder Mama Tshepo Ramaphosa kept look at it up-and-down in disbelief. To those who asked about the statue of Shaka and his nose, check out Tata's hair here pic.twitter.com/urkW5fyYpS
— Pinky Khoabane (@pinkykhoabane) September 25, 2018
— KevinSifisoMalunga (@KevinMalunga) September 24, 2018
SA really convinced the UN that the statue we gifted them is of Mandela and not Robert De Niro. pic.twitter.com/RrCB1CUigt
— Gugulethu Mhlungu (@GugsM) September 25, 2018
There are many theories as to who the statue does look like. Columnist Tom Eaton said he could see both Robert de Niro and Samuel L Jackson, and one user said Madiba looks like an “Asian man”.
— Rand Daily Mail (@rdm_za) September 26, 2018
— Nkosazane (@Nkosaza57087844) September 25, 2018
However, there does seem to be consensus on who it doesn’t look a whole lot like – Nelson Mandela.
Its def not Madiba … who is it? Think Ramaphosa took the wrong statue… hope they didn't take our deaf signer who performed at Madiba's funeral as well
— Keith (@Keith_CT01) September 25, 2018
President Cyril Ramaphosa arrived in New York in the United States on Sunday afternoon to attend the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA73) from September 25 to 27.
Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko said in a statement that the theme for this year’s session was “Making the United Nations relevant to all people: global leadership and shared responsibilities for peaceful, equitable, and sustainable societies”.
The UN general debate was preceded by the unveiling of the statue and the historic Nelson Mandela Peace Summit, a high-level plenary meeting convened by the President of the General Assembly Maria Espinosa in honour of the anniversary of the birth of South Africa’s first democratically elected president.