As the world mourns the great Nelson Mandela, we wanted to once again bring light to an amazing sculpture by Marco Cianfanelli that stands at the site of Mandela’s capture in 1962. Installed in 2012, the striking piece was installed to mark the 50-year anniversary of what began Nelson Mandela’s ‘long walk to freedom’ – and the piece of land that altered the history of South Africa.
The sculpture comprises 50 steel column constructions between 6.5 and 9.5 metres tall set into the Midlands landscape. The approach to the site, designed by Jeremy Rose of Mashabane Rose Architects, leads visitors down a path towards the sculpture where, at a distance of 35 meters, a striking portrait of Nelson Mandela, looking west, comes into focus, the 50 vertical columns aligning perfectly to create the illusion of one singular flat image.
Cianfanelli’s rendering is appropriately monumental and fittingly transient. Delicate even. The sculpture itself is suggestive of Mandela’s incarceration. The 50 columns represent the 50 years since his capture and also allude to the idea of many making the whole; of solidarity.
The sculpture, which impacts and becomes part of the surrounding landscape, visually shifts throughout the day, reacting to the changing light and atmosphere behind and around it.
It truly is a stunning testament to an amazing man. We hope it stands for decades to come, so that the generations that follow ours have the opportunity to enjoy its beauty and reflect upon the life of a man who changed the course of history.