WATCH | Unique Ford Ranger honours legacy of Nelson Mandela

29 July 2020 - 16:07
By Motoring Reporter
The bespoke paintwork on this special Ford Ranger took 48 hours to complete.
Image: Supplied The bespoke paintwork on this special Ford Ranger took 48 hours to complete.

Ford SA is no stranger to combing its popular Ranger bakkie with homegrown art.

Last year the talented employees at the firm's assembly plant in Silverton, Pretoria, created "Stimela" in celebration of Heritage Month. This one-of-a-kind Ranger was adorned with a giant national flag stretching all the way from below the grille, across the bonnet and then up over the roof of the double cab. Its tailgate was decorated with Ndebele art and a map of South Africa showing the location of Ford's plants in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.

Fast-forward to 2020 and the Blue Oval has taken the wraps off "Mandla".

Also a product of the Silverton plant, this unique 'art' Ranger celebrates the life and legacy of the late and great Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

While the roof is adorned with the South African flag, the bonnet features a meticulously painted portrait of Madiba. The side panels and rear tailgate pay further tribute to the Nelson Mandela Foundation and celebrate July 18 as Mandela Day.

The unique designs were done completely by hand by four talented artists who work at the plant's paint shop where the Ranger is produced. It took the team 48 hours - mainly outside of their regular shift work at the plant - to produce the finished artwork.

"For all of us at the paint shop, this was a very exciting and humbling opportunity that gave our artists an opportunity to showcase their skills," explained manufacturing engineering manager Dorah Mmekwa, who led the project.

"At first the team were quite nervous. Mandela's image is so iconic - the team were eager to do him and the Foundation justice. Once they got started, it was clear there was no need to be anxious. The vehicle looks superb and we are all extremely proud to have been a part of its creation."

"Mandla" has been donated to the Nelson Mandela Foundation, where it will be used to work on various projects, particularly in education and community upliftment.