A life-sized bronze statue of the late Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has been unveiled in Cape Town. The statue forms part of the Long March to Freedom exhibition, which honours notable leaders in society. The anti-apartheid struggle cleric died in December 2021 at the age of 90.
Tutu’s statue will take its place among the likes of Nelson and Winnie Mandela, the Khoi leaders of the 1600s and the Xhosa and Zulu kings. CEO of the National Heritage Project Company, Dali Tambo, says its a fitting space for the Arch.
“He was my uncle but he was also this iconic figure that the whole world accepted was a man, an individual who in many ways inspired people from one end of the earth to the next. But in our struggle he played a fundamental role and so it was important that he walks among his comrades and friends he struggled with, it was important to honour him in bronze so that we never forget him that cheer, that brilliance of mind that determination.”
Life-sized bronze statue of Archbishop Tutu unveiled in Cape Town:
The Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, Nocawe Mafu, says South Africa needs to memorialise people whose acts of selflessness set them apart.
“Every nation at some point would recognise those people in the nation that played a critical role. Desmond Tutu, archbishop as we call him, is one those that need to be recognised. So memorialisation by its nature is for those people that played that part in the history of the country, who else would be part of that except the Arch.”
Depicted in his trademark purple robe, with his arms outstretched, smiling, the family says the artwork is striking in its likeness to the man they loved and respected. Tutu’s eldest daughter, Thandeka Tutu-Gxashe, says it’s an emotional event for the family.
“Looking at him feels as if you are with him and is here with us. I didn’t expect it to be as life like as it is. I’ve seen a lot of pictures of my father, a lot of artists they get it quite right, either they miss either the nose of the smile is not quite him. But this is more like him and so emotional that I thought it would be.”
The Department of Arts and Culture has committed to a new wave of transforming public spaces in an attempt to educate people about the heritage of the country.
Bronze life-sized statue of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu unveiled: