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Rabbit in Mandela statue’s ear causes stir

Published On: Jan 22 2014 07:31:12 AM AKST
Updated On: Jan 23 2014 07:57:28 AM AKST
Mandela statue Pretoria

REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Two artists are drawing controversy after they inserted a sculpted rabbit inside the ear of a giant, bronze statue of Nelson Mandela.

Andre Prinsloo and Ruhan Janse van Vuuren sculpted the 29.5-foot statue, which is billed as the biggest statue of the late South African leader ever created, The Associated Press reported. It was unveiled outside the government complex in the country's capital of Pretoria the day after Mandela's funeral.

The department of arts and culture said it didn't know the two sculptors stuck the small rabbit in the finished statue until it was too late. Mogomotsi Mogodiri, a department spokesman, stated, "[The rabbit] doesn't belong there. The statue represents what everyone in South Africa is proud of."

South African officials want the rabbit removed from the statue immediately.

South Africa's Beeld newspaper quoted the artists as saying they added the rabbit as a "trademark" after officials would not allow them to engrave their signatures on the statue.