PE teams scoop Madiba project

Sculptor Anton Momberg, left, and architect Albrecht Herholdt with the maquettes
Picture: Fredlin Adriaan

Qunu development honour for architects, sculptor

Madiba’s memory is set to be honoured in a big way with a very special piece of art from Port Elizabeth taking centre stage at a new development near the late leader’s hometown of Qunu.

A multi-phase development, stretching over a number of years, will soon start to take shape 3km from Nelson Mandela’s home in Qunu.

The project will include a presidential library, schools, higher learning institutions and housing – all aimed at celebrating the memory of Madiba.

The Matrix Urban Designers and Architects director Professor Albrecht Herholdt, one of the brains behind the project, said this was an exceptional opportunity to honour one of the world’s greatest leaders.

“The project started as a competition by the Department of Human Settlements,” Herholdt, 63, said.

“Seven teams, consisting of architecture and construction firms from across the country entered, and our joint venture was selected the winner.”

His Port Elizabeth-based firm joined forces with Iliso, another Bay firm, to put the project together.

And at the heart of the massive development will stand an equally large work of art by Port Elizabeth sculptor Anton Momberg.

Momberg, 66, is designing a sculpture that will not only represent all 11 of South Africa’s official languages, but also symbolise the freedom and joy of the country’s diversity – while towering more than 40m over the surrounding villages in Qunu.

Herholdt approached Momberg, who has spent the past 18 months designing the sculpture.

It will consist of 11 bronze figures of children dancing and playing, each measuring 3.5m in height, standing on top of 40m-high columns.

At this stage he has completed eight of the 11 maquettes, or prototypes, which will later be enlarged and forged from bronze.

“This will be linked with a separate sculpture of Mandela some distance away, looking up at these children as if admiring what he achieved as the country’s president,” Momberg said.

“It is overwhelmingly exciting to be a part of this project that will celebrate such a great man, and form part of a development that will certainly be world renowned.”

The first pillars for the sculpture are set to be erected in about a year’s time.

Herholdt, a renowned architect whose firm has designed a number of award-winning buildings, shared Momberg’s excitement.

“This is the project of my life,” he said.

“This is the project of my life,” he said.

“It will be very complex, with so many fine details and nuanced meanings and concepts that it will force people to do research into Mandela’s life.

“In doing so we not only celebrate him, but we get more people to learn about him and keep his legacy alive.”

He will be leaving for the US this week to continue his research for this project, especially looking into the presidential libraries built in honour of some of America’s former leaders.

The Mandela presidential library will be one of the first buildings to be built at the site, but the design team still has two more years to complete the design.

Riaan Marais – HeraldLIVE

Leave a Reply