Africa is noted and celebrated for many things, be it for the rich cultures and traditions of its vivid history, the continent always has something intriguing and mind-blowing to offer.
But Africa has more to offer than just a history of slavery, colonization and rich cultures of diverse people. The continent also boasts of various forms of self-expression such as oral history, music and African Arts.
African Arts is often explained as both historical and modern paintings, sculptures, monuments and installations that all come together to make a visual culture. In both historical and modern times, indigenous Africa can boast of various sculptures and monuments.
Oh Afrika presents you with five of the largest statues in Africa and everything you need to know about the great pieces of art.
The African Renaissance Monument – Senegal
Known as the Monument de la Renaissance Africaine in French, the African Renaissance Monument stands at 161ft in the capital of Senegal, Dakar and is the tallest in Africa. The statue was designed by Senegalese architect Pierre Goudiaby after the project was presented to him by then President Abdoulaye Wade who reigned for 12 years from 2000 to 2012. Former President Abdoulaye Wade found the project necessary as a catalyst for a new era in African renaissance.
Built by the North-Korean Company Mansudae Overseas Project, the statue cost 27 million dollars and is taller than the Statue of Liberty in the United States of America. The statue is a representation of a man, a woman and a child emerging from a volcano. It took 5 years to build the bronze statue finishing in 2010 instead of 2009 as planned.
The African Renaissance Monument was unveiled on April 3, 2010, in front of 19 African heads of state amidst drumming and dancing as part of marking 50 years of Senegalese independence. The statue stands on a hill overlooking Dakar, the Capital of Senegal and is one of the most controversial statues built facing intellectual property battles and protests by Christians and Senegalese.
Great Sphinx of Giza – Egypt
The second tallest statue in Africa is the Great Sphinx of Giza which stands at 66ft. The statue is found in Egypt and is a limestone statue of a mythical creature with a lion’s body and a human head. The statue is the oldest known monumental sculpture in Egypt and is said to have the head of King Khafre (c.2575-c.2465).
It is estimated to have taken 3 years to make with a total of 100 workers needed. The statute is also one of the world’s largest and oldest statues.
Queen Moremi Ajasoro Statue of Liberty, Ile Ife – Nigeria
The third largest statue is the Queen Moremi Ajasoro Statue of Liberty in Nigeria. The statue stands at 42 feet with 30 risers and is the statue of the Yoruba Princess Moremi who later became a Queen. Her statue was built at the exact spot where she the queen once lived thousands of years ago in Ile- Ife in Nigeria.
Taking the place of the Jesus de Greatest Statue in Nigeria, the statue is the tallest in Nigeria and was built locally by Nigerian constructors and youth with local material. The statue was commissioned by the Ooni of Ile Ife, Oba Ogunwusi in 2017.
Statue of Ramesses II – Egypt
The fourth largest statue in Africa is again found in Egypt discovered by Giovanni Battista Caviglia in 1820 at the Great Temple of Ptah in Egypt. The statue is about 3,200 years old and was the third tallest until 2017 when the Moremi Ajasoro Statue in Nigeria was completed.
Also known as Ramesses the Great, Pharaoh Ramesses is known to have led many military fights and is known to have helped Egypt regain control over Canaan.
Nelson Mandela Statue – South Africa
The large bronze statue of the first president of South Africa is located in the Nelson Mandela Square in Johannesburg, South Africa. The statue is 29ft tall and is a statue of a standing Nelson Mandela. The sculpturing of the statue started in 2002 and was completed in 2004 taking 2 years to complete.
The fifth largest statue was sculpted by South Africans Jacob Maponyane and Kobus Hattingh. The Statue was unveiled on March 31, 2004, as part of the 10th anniversary celebrations of the first democratic election in South Africa.