The Rabbit in the Ear – Cape Town and Nelson Mandela



Four hours after we arrived in Cape Town Nelson Mandela passed away.  The news of his death did not reach us until the next morning. The 24 hour bus journey from Namibia to South Africa had wiped us out and we crashed as soon as we arrived at the hostel.

Those who are more aware of the portends than I would have known something was up.   As we travelled towards the border the skies were full of dark and brooding clouds with oil slick coloured pockets of air shimmering in between. When I woke up, completely oblivious of the news that was  breaking around the world, I found that my watch had stopped at  8.50pm the night before.  Later that day it started working again.   Apparently Mandela passed about that time.

Despite the lamenting of the world over the death of Nelson Mandela, mourning in Cape Town and most of South Africa seemed to be low key.  Possibly because life support machines had been keeping him alive for some time and they had time to prepare.  Also, many of those that I spoke to had become tired and cynical about Mandela’s family who they thought were determined to exploit his death to it’s max.  Google for the facts on the legal wrangling if you want to know more – its a pretty sordid and depressing end for a great man.    However one story did lighten the mood and hopefully Mandela would have found it as funny as we did.

One day we heard the Minister for Culture on the radio discussing the 9 meter statue of Madib commissioned by the government to commemorate his life.

“The rabbit in the ear of the statue was never part of the commission, it is a disgrace  and needs to be removed” he raved  “The rabbit needs to go.  The artists had no right to place the rabbit in the ear.  It was never agreed  to.  It is an insult to the memory. We never agreed to the rabbit”.

The interviewer then pointed out that the artists were not given permission to sign their work of art with their names and had placed a rabbit in one of the ears as their signature instead.

“I will say again, we never agreed to the rabbit and it has to go, it was never part of the original plan” he shouted. “The artists need to take the rabbit out of the ear as it was not commissioned or agreed  to”.  The rant continued for at least another 5 minutes but because he was in a fury by then his sentences started to run together and become incomprehensible.  The only words that we could hear clearly was “The Rabbit”  “Not agreed to” and “Needs to go” over and over again.

Seriously, who is going to see it – the ear of the statue is nearly 8ft high and  “the rabbit”  happens to be very cute!


13 thoughts on “The Rabbit in the Ear – Cape Town and Nelson Mandela

  1. What a lovely story. There used to be a furniture maker here who carved a mouse on all his pieces — now greatly sought after. So why not a rabbit to commemorate the artists. I think Mandela would have loved that.

  2. Gorgeous photo. How strange that your watch stopped. Mine stopped at the time of my birth on the morning my mum passed away. I never got a new battery, but kept it as is. I’m glad yours started working again. I love the rabbit, and I suspect, as you say that Mandela would find it funny. All reports say he was a man of good humor. It also reminds me of The Rabbit-Proof Fence which is a remarkable story of persistence, hope and coming home at all odds. Very fitting.

  3. WOW! AMAZING SHOT! I agree who cares about the rabbit and yes his family has acted poorly. Your photo taken at this time shows that even in the mist of dark days, beautiful light and color can come out of it.


  4. Looks like the cloud is breathing fire out of its mouth. It even has a nose and a place for the eyes. That got my attention. 🙂 Nice catch, in any event.

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