The artists who created a new statue of Nelson Mandela outside South Africa’s administrative capital in Pretoria secretly sculpted a rabbit into Mandela’s ear that has only recently been noticed. Sculptors Andre Prinsloo and Ruhan Janse van Vuuren, when confronted, admitted putting the rabbit in Mandela’s ear after the government told them they were not allowed to add their signatures to the 9m (28 ft) bronze statue at the Union Buildings.
According to a local Afrikaans-langauge newspaper, they also added the secret detail as a joke: the Afrikaans word for rabbit is “haas,” which also means “haste”–a reference to the tight deadline under which they had worked. The statue was unveiled in December after Mandela passed away at age 95. According to the South African Press Association, the government declined to comment because it had not yet examined the rabbit.
Photo credit: Herman Steyn/RSG