Wax sculptor pays tribute to Nelson Mandela

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: TRIBUTE: Mike Wade with his creation TRIBUTE: Mike Wade with his creation

A WAXWORK model of Nelson Mandela is now pride of place in the hero’s family’s home in South Africa – after being created by a Bridport based artist.

Mike Wade, a wax sculptor who has previously worked at Madame Tussauds, was commissioned by a company acting on behalf of the icon’s family to create the sculpture.

The wax model of Mandela that Mr Wade created is now at the icon’s grandson’s home in Pretoria, and will also go on tour around South Africa to schools and colleges to promote the work of the leader.

Mr Wade personally dealt with the family on numerous occasions and the company acting on their behalf to make sure the model was an exact likeness to the hero. Mr Wade, who previously worked as a sculptor at Madame Tussauds, said: “I felt a bit nervous making it for his family. It was very hard because, as it neared completion, there were a lot of time restrictions, as the family wanted it as soon as possible, which made finishing it off difficult.

“But, I personally am very pleased with it and it has received great feedback from Mr Mandela’s family as well. I received a text from his grandson two weeks ago saying that the whole family really liked it.

“I felt really honoured to make it for them though. It was amazing. He is one of the modern greats and is truly an iconic figure.”

The freedom fighter lost his fight for life on Thursday, December 5 at 6.50pm after a long battle with a lung infection and passed away peacefully surrounded by his family at his Johannesburg home.

His funeral is due to be held on Sunday, December 15, and there was a commemoration service held in South Africa attended by world leaders such as Barack Obama and David Cameron on Tuesday.

The model took Mr Wade a few months to complete, and was only sent out to the Mandela family in South Africa towards the end of November.

Nelson Mandela’s family also sent over Mr Mandela’s actual clothes to adorn the model, with the famous gold shiny shirt he wore when he met the Queen included for Mr Wade to put on his creation.

  • The chairman of the South West Multicultural Network, Anne-Marie Vincent, who lives in Bridport, remembered meeting the man she describes as an ‘icon’.

She said: “I was working for the Racial Equality Commission at the time and there was an event at the Albert Hall which he attended.

“He was an incredibly inspirational person and I think he led the way in terms of the peace process in Northern Ireland because, of course, if it can happen in South Africa, which was so much more oppressive and exploitative, then surely it could happen there.

“He is an icon and a symbol of hope and tolerance.”

Ms Vincent added: “I don’t think anyone in my lifetime will accomplish what he has done.”


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