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Bronze Bunny In “Mandela’s” Ear Causes A Stir

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Image: Fae
Nelson Mandela. Image: Fae

A tiny bunny has created a lot of debate.

The bunny at the centre of the controversy is made of bronze—and it’s in Nelson Mandela’s ear.

Following the death of the famous world leader, officials in South Africa hired two sculptors to build a monument in his honour.

Sculptors Ruhan Janse van Vuuren and Andre Prinsloo created a majestic, nine-metre likeness of Mandela, with his arms open wide as if to embrace the world.

However, when the officials wouldn’t let the duo sign their name on the work, they found a cheeky way to leave their mark.

They sculpted a tiny bunny and put it inside the statue’s ear. It was their way of saying, “we made this statue.”

The Afrikaans word for rabbit is “haas,” which also means “rush” or “haste.” It’s a reference to the fact that the sculptors had a tight deadline and had to work quickly or, “in haste.”

Although many people looking at the statue wouldn’t notice the bunny—even up close—some people did notice it. And they weren’t amused.

South Africa’s Arts and Culture Minister, Paul Mashatile, said the rabbit is disrespectful to Nelson Mandela’s legacy.

A spokesperson for the company that hired the sculptors said he is furious about the rabbit. He said it would be like creating artwork of U.S. President Barack Obama and then putting a mouse in his nose.

The sculptors have apologized for any offence the bunny has caused. They said it was not their intent to be disrespectful, but they merely wanted to sign their work in some way.

South African officials say they may allow the two artists to sign the work on the pant leg in a way that doesn’t ruin the sculpture.

Related links
You can see a photo of the sculpture (and the bunny) on the BBC’s website here.

How much do you know about Nelson Mandela, his work and his legacy? Refresh your memory with this TKN article.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
The issue in today’s article centres around whether or not sculptors Ruhan Janse van Vuuren and Andre Prinsloo were disrespectful to the legacy of Nelson Mandela by inserting a bunny in his ear. What do you think and why do you think so?

Reading Prompt: Extending Understanding
Artists have been known to sign their work in interesting ways throughout art history (e.g. Albrecht Durer. Henri Matisse, & Piet Mondrian). Do you sign your artwork always, sometimes, or never? When you sign your artworks, do you think about what your signature will look like? Do you give thought to where it should go? 

Primary
extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge and experience, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Junior
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Intermediate
Extend understanding of texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them  (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Grammar Feature: Agent Nouns
An agent noun is a word that identifies a person as someone who does a specific action. It can also refer to a thing that carries out a specific action. For example, “guitarist” is an agent noun because it identifies someone as a person who plays guitar. However, a “grinder” is also an agent noun because it is a thing that grinds.

Pick a letter from the alphabet and see how many agent nouns you can list in 2 minutes. Compare your list to a friends. Tally to see who could think of the most. If you lose, make it a best-of-three!