A small sculpted rabbit was found inside the right ear of a statue of Nelson Mandela, causing a stir with South African officials. (Jan. 24)
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Pretoria, South Africa - January 24, 2014
1. Close face of Nelson Mandela statue
2. Close small sculpture of rabbit inside the ear of the Mandela statue
3. Mid Mandela statue
4. Mid zoom in of tourist taking picture of statue
5. Mid tourists taking photos of Mandela statue
6. Mid Mandela statue
7. Wide Mandela statue with people standing at the foot of it
8. Close rabbit sculpture in the ear of the Mandela statue
A nine-meter statue of Nelson Mandela unveiled last year in Pretoria has caused a stir after the discovery of a barely visible sculpted rabbit inside its right ear.
South African officials want the miniature bunny removed from the statue, which was unveiled outside the government complex in Pretoria, the capital, on 16 December, a day after Mandela's funeral.
The department of arts and culture said it didn't know the two sculptors, Andre Prinsloo and Ruhan Janse van Vuuren, had added a rabbit.
The bronze rabbit is understood to be a "trademark" of the artists, who were not allowed to engrave their signatures on the statue's trousers, according to South Africa's Beeld newspaper.
The paper said the rabbit represented the pressure of finishing the sculpture on time because "haas" - the word for rabbit in the Dutch-based Afrikaans language - also means "haste."
Mogomotsi Mogodiri, spokesman for the South African Department of Arts and Culture, has called the addition a "publicity stunt" and is pressing for its removal.
The giant work stands with arms outstretched, symbolizing Mandela's devotion to inclusiveness, outside the Union Buildings, where the body of the prisoner who opposed white rule and became South Africa's first black president lay in state after his December 5 death at the age of 95.