What may look like a bunch of randomly scattered poles from one side is actually an impressive sculpture of Nelson Mandela. It was constructed to recognize the 50th anniversary of his capture by the apartheid police. In 1962 the peace activist and politician was arrested and convicted of sabotage and other charges, and sentenced to life imprisonment.
The sculpture, titled “Release”, is done by a South African artist Marco Cianfanelli, and represents 27 years that Mandela spent behind bars. As Cianfanelli says, the 50 columns represent the 50 years since his capture, but they also suggest the idea of many making the whole; of solidarity.
The sculpture is made from 50 steel columns, all between 6.5 and 9.5 metres high. It’s constructed at the end of the path because the viewer needs to be at least 35 metres away to see Mandela in full focus. Besides the 50 linear vertical units, Cianfanelli also included additional 5 smaller columns to create an axis from the main sculpture to the monument site across the road.