I feel privileged to have been part of the team that worked so well together to get the statue of Nelson Mandela up at the City Hall.
Koketso Groth, owned by Dali Tambo won the tender from The City of Cape Town.
They commissioned Xhanti Mphakara and myself and together with Sculpture Casting Services in Somerset West who did the mold and bronze casting, we took on the project.
Xhanti and myself come from different backgrounds with complimentary styles and we work well together. As a collaboration we have also done the Mandela bust in front of the Parliament building, and a life size figure of Mandela for The Long March to Freedom.
With the City Hall statue we started with a maquette, 45cm high capturing as much detail as we could. To make this we found a model with a similar physique to Mandela and took reference photos allowing us to see how the creases and folds on the clothing fall. After final approval of the maquette we proceeded to the 1.95 meter artwork. This took three months of work with numerous trips by Dali Tambo and his Project manager Sarah Hains from Johannesburg who facilitated our progress.
Like any projects of this size we had to overcome obstacles. There were moments when I feared failure but after the inevitable panic and adrenaline in the final stages we were ready. Both of us enormously relieved when we got a big thumbs up both from Koketso and the city of Cape Town.
What this means to me personally: It is a wonderful feeling to know that in time to come my grandchildren can bring their grandchildren and stand next to the great man and say ,
“My grandpa was a member of the team that made this statue”