The South African Story - free download for Apple
The South African Story - free download for Android

MediaClubSouthAfrica

MediaClubSouthAfrica.com Helping the media cover the South African story.

SCAM ALERT

Please note: Any e-mail whatsoever that claims to come from a representative of Nelson Mandela or any organisation bearing his name, and that cites SouthAfrica.info in support of this claim, should be treated as fraudulent.

Nelson Mandela


A Freedom Tower for Mandela

20 July 2005 Washington has its Lincoln Memorial, Paris its Arc de Triomphe, Rio its Christ the Redeemer, and Delhi its Gandhi Memorial. Now Port Elizabeth is to build the Freedom Tower, a structure taller than the Statue of Liberty, to express the spirit of freedom and celebrate the life and work of Nelson Mandela. The Tower, designed by Equilibrium Studios, was announced as the winner of the Statue of Freedom competition during a ceremony in Port Elizabeth on Monday, Mandela's 87th birthday. "Happy birthday Madiba," Constitutional Court Judge Albie Sachs, head of the competition judging panel, said after the announcement. "We hope the Tower will honour the noble struggle of the people of South Africa and the prominent role you played in it." At 122 metres, the monument will be higher than the Statue of Liberty's 96 metres. It was up against one other finalist, the "butterfly" structure designed by the Aloeides Clarki Consortium of Johannesburg. The two were chosen out of 107 entries from around the country, and scrutinised by both technical teams and the judging panel. Situated on the southern section of Kings Beach, near the western breakwater of the port of Port Elizabeth, the Tower will welcome visitors arriving by both air and sea, as it is close to the main flight path to the Port Elizabeth airport. Admired and enjoyed for centuries Sachs said the deciding factors were the strength and compactness of the Tower design, and the evident cohesive energy of the design team. Also in its favour was its potential to be an icon visible from land, sea and air - a distinctive feature of Nelson Mandela Bay. "The Tower envisaged by Equilibrium Studios could be a most remarkable monument, admired and enjoyed for centuries to come," he said. "It has a unique structure that will be both simple and striking when viewed from afar, and interesting and full of surprises when explored within. It will capture and reflect sunlight during the day, and be illuminated at night. The Tower design "The possibilities are limitless for occupying the interior spaces with lively exhibits telling the story not only of Nelson Mandela but also of the people of Port Elizabeth, the Eastern Cape and the country as a whole - as well as stories about struggles in other parts of the world." According to its designers, the monument is to be "a tower-like habitable structure, the base depicting the start of Nelson Mandela's journey, leading up to a freedom platform representing [South Africa's] first democratic elections, where visitors can pause for a view in all directions". Important for development The Statue of Freedom project aims to help the development of Port Elizabeth's Mandela Bay. Pierre Voges, CEO of the Mandela Bay Development Agency, said the monument could be as important as the Coega Industrial Development Zone. The first statue design, of Nelson Mandela "Our objective is to create a structure which visitors to the metro must see before they leave." At the moment, Voges said, far too many tourists simply get off the plane onto a bus and head down the Garden Route. Or they turn around at Plettenberg Bay because they don't know how much there is to do and see in the Port Elizabeth area. "The freedom monument will draw them to Port Elizabeth long enough to show what else is on offer. It is therefore an investment in the economy of the metro and surrounding regions." According to Freedom Enterprises CEO Mandla Madwara, an independent feasibility study by a consortium led by Atos KPMG Consulting "showed that a bold tribute to freedom would attract between one and two thousand visitors a day, with the creation of over a thousand jobs and additional revenues for the metro of around R366-million". Eastern Cape economic affairs MEC André de Wet said the announcement is not just historic for the Nelson Mandela Metro, but for the province and South Africa as a whole. "You will see this place move," he said. "Now, we would like to see the first sod turned." The Mandela Bay Development Agency launched the competition for the Statue of Freedom in January. Designs had to be for a structure that would cost no more than R50-million to build and be complete no later than 27 April 2009 - the 15th anniversary of SA's first democratic elections. The Freedom Tower The Freedom Tower design According to Equilibrium, the Freedom Tower will "depict Nelson Mandela's journey as an experience for the visitor. "At all points in Mandela's journey, his experiences will be portrayed in relation to historic South African and international events, with each level depicting a milestone to the top viewing level," the consortium says in its concept report. "The tower is simply constructed from spirally laid hollow blocks, stacked in a regular offset pattern, to create the route up to the Freedom platform. Pedestrians will have stairs, with a lift-shaft up the core axis. "The structure should have the appearance of a crafted object, with relevance to indigenous handwork, examples being baskets, woven screens, dry-packed stone walls, Zulu huts and the like. The components should be uncomplicated." According to the competition judges, Equilibrium's tower will "have a strong iconic presence and actively engage visitors. "The ascent from darkness to light will be immediately understandable," the judges found. "The layered progression of the freedom struggle will be strongly represented in the structure. "The potential exists for beautiful and changing vistas of the sea and surrounding areas. The volumes will also lend themselves to incorporating historical, artistic and craft materials." SouthAfrica.info reporter
Using SAinfo material Want to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material
The South African Story - free download for Apple
The South African Story - free download for Android

MediaClubSouthAfrica

MediaClubSouthAfrica.com Helping the media cover the South African story.

SCAM ALERT

Please note: Any e-mail whatsoever that claims to come from a representative of Nelson Mandela or any organisation bearing his name, and that cites SouthAfrica.info in support of this claim, should be treated as fraudulent.