A teacher, court interpreter, Methodist minister and first President-General of the ANC (he eventually served two terms – 1924 to 1927 and 1937 to 1940), Rev Mahabane was described as a diplomatic, slow-speaking and calm man, who combined politics and Christian ethics to fight racism. His overriding concern was for Christian fellowship and racial peace in South Africa and he dedicated his life to fighting for these ideals.
I wanted the sculpture to convey the feeling of Rev Mahabane’s great perseverance and commitment to the struggle against injustice and oppression. I depicted him in a very determined pose, with the Bible in one hand and an excerpt from his writings in the other. These writings were first published in Bantu World in 1935 and later as part of a pamphlet: Criticisms of the Native Bills by DDT Jabavu and Others.
The sculpture forms part the National Heritage Monument’s “Long March to Freedom” at the Maropeng Visitor Centre, Cradle of Humankind. This is an installation that will eventually see an outdoor procession of more than 400 life-size bronze figures of specific individuals depicting all eras and epochs of South Africa’s history entitled.