South African university unveils sculpture of Mandela shirt

AP News
Posted: Nov 04, 2015 7:46 AM

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa has celebrated Nelson Mandela by crafting numerous statues and portraits of the country's first black president. Now there's a sculpture of the late leader's signature shirt.

A university in the city of Port Elizabeth last week unveiled a 10-foot-high (3-meter-high) sculpture inspired by the colorful shirts that Mandela, who died in 2013 at the age of 95, often wore in his later years.

The shirt sculpture in a garden at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University is made of blue and white ceramic tiles that are joined by wirework. It was designed by students from the school of music, art and design.

University spokeswoman Roslyn Baatjies said Wednesday that the shirt sculpture captures some of the essence of Mandela, an anti-apartheid leader who led South Africa's transition to democracy in 1994 after being jailed by its former white leaders for 27 years.

"Whenever you saw Madiba, you saw him wearing this type of shirt," said Baatjies, referring to Mandela by his clan name.