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Massive Madiba monument ?

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The proposal of a 60m-high monument to Nelson Mandela teetering on the cliffs of Table Mountain may sound like an April Fools type joke, however, it seems like a Dutch design firm is quite serious about their idea.The Cape Argus reports that a Dutch design firm have pitched the design concept on behalf of an obscure Rotterdam-based organization called "Mandela on the bike foundation".

Concept designs for the 12-storey monument including a restaurant, conference centre and exhibition area - all in the shape of Mandela's face - were posted on a dedicated website last month, timed to coincide with Madiba's birthday.

The proposed monument honouring Madiba "will teach next generations about the man who gave his life for justice and show his heritage" design firm, WHIM Architecture explained. 

The project team says the size of the building "suits the visibility and accessibility on the mountain overlooking Cape Town and its coastline", although the sheer cliffs shown in most of their drawings do not appear to belong to Table Mountain. 

Asked to comment, Table Mountain National Park manager Paddy Gordon said "I nearly fell off my chair" when seeing the images.

He added that as custodians of the international iconic site, they could not even begin to consider the proposal, especially in terms of the mountain's legal status as a national park and World Natural Heritage Site.

"Though we agree that the nation owes a huge debt to Madiba and that we need to honour his contribution for generations to come, we hope to support a very different approach to achieve this.

Besides, I'm convinced that Madiba himself would not wish for his beloved Table Mountain to be maimed in this way."

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