Nelson Mandela memorial causes controversy in Cape Town

Giant pair of sunglasses sponsored Ray-Ban

A sculpture dedicated to the legacy of Nobel Peace Prize winner and former South African president Nelson Mandela is causing controversy in Cape Town.

The recently-installed sculpture by South African artist Michael Elion takes the form of a 2.5-m high pair of stainless steel Ray-Ban Wayfarers, the signature sunglasses by the American firm, which sponsored the piece.

Titled “Perceiving Freedom”, the clear-lense glasses gaze over the Atlantic Ocean towards Robben island, where Mandela was imprisoned by the apartheid regime for almost two decades before being released in 1990.

Elion told South Africa’s Art Times that the piece symbolises "the invisible barriers and prejudices that exist in our perceptions and shape the way we view the world".

However many locals claim that the statue is blatant advertising and an inappropriate way to remember Mandela, who died almost a year ago.

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Wanted in Africa, part of the Wanted Worldwide network, is a website in English for expatriates in Africa established in 2006. We cover Europe's news stories that may be of interest to English speaking residents along with tourists as well. Our publication also offers classifieds, photos, information on events, museums, churches, galleries, exhibits, fashion, food, and local travel.
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