New twist in bunny tale

AN animal rights group has applied to the government to adopt the bronze bunny secretly sculpted inside the ear of a statue of Nelson Mandela.

Authorities this week ordered the little figure’s removal after the artists included it without clearance.

But in a letter to Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile, animal rights organisation Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) asked to take in the orphaned animal.

It would “highlight the plight of the billions of rabbits and other wonderful animals who are slaughtered for their skins, used in forced labour, and kept in chains”, the group said in the letter, forwarded to media.

News of the hidden bunny in the statue’s right ear left the government steaming this week over perceived disrespect to the father of the nation.

The saga drew banter from some, who started a campaign called #savetherabbit on Twitter.

The two bronze sculptors — Andre Prinsloo and Ruhan Janse van Vuuren — who added the mammal as their “signature” – have apologised.

Built at a cost of R8-million, the 4.5-ton Union Buildings sculpture is the largest of the Mandela statues in the world. It was unveiled just a day after Mandela was buried last month.

“We would be honoured to use the bronze rabbit … to honour Mandela’s vision of a more peaceful, kinder world,” Peta said. – AFP