Although the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro is named after South Africa’s first post Apartheid president and a world icon, the city does not have a proper Madiba statue for visitors and tourists to visit. Because of this the Route 67 Madiba figure on the Donkin Reserve has become a must stop for especially international visitors
A lot of the figures in the Voting Line art piece on the Donkin Reserve are based on real people. One of the things I like is the fact that you notice different personal or clothing features on the figures every time you visit.
Last week I took a group of students on a walking tour around the Donkin Reserve and Route 67 and just realised again how much history Port Elizabeth has. The Donkin Reserve is a combination of history and public art and lining up the mosaic with the pyramid and lighthouse like this shows how easily you can incorporate the two.
Have you ever sat down to have a chat with the lady holding the chair on the Donkin Reserve? Asked her about the lives of all women who have lived on the shore of Algoa Bay over the years? About what she sees daily?
This Untitled piece of the lady was done by well-known artist Anton Momberg. The piece has been left untitled with the features and clothing on the female figure deliberately neutral, as the work is meant as a conversation piece rather than a conceptually specific entity.
As one follows Route 67 from the city centre up towards the Donkin Reserve you pass the Public Library and St Mary’s Cathedral before climbing a set of steps up to Winston Ntshona Street (previously Chapel Street). The art piece on the wall by the steps is a statement about the 76 generation (referring to the 1976 Soweto uprising) and represents the spiritual journey undertaken by those who fought against oppression. The art piece takes the form of a pile of newspapers being blown away in the wind and the pages tell the story of the youth.
It’s sad though to see that a number of the newspaper sheets have been removed from the lower section of the piece. Very disappointing to see their remembrance defiled like this.
If you started a walk along Route 67 at the Campanile then the Campanile Frieze and Wall of Texts would be one of the first art pieces you’ll see. Both of these are done by artist Mkhonto Gwazela. The frieze at the top celebrates the indigenous heritage of Nelson Mandela Bay and the Eastern Cape with the sculpted visual image being cast in concrete along the curved wall. The poem just below is engraved into locally-sourced granite.
Today is the 10th birthday of Port Elizabeth Daily Photo. Yes, exactly 10 years ago to the day PE Daily Photo was started by SAM (Sue and Max Hoppe) with a post featuring some generic facts about Nelson Mandela Bay. Two days later they were off and running, doing 500 posts before passing the baton on to me. I did my first post on the 15th of March 2009 which means I have been at it for about 8 1/2 years now and this is the blog’s 3555th post. Although I don’t post every day anymore due to time restraints, I do try to post as often as possible and it’s still a great pleasure sharing this beautiful city I live, work and play in and it’s surroundings with you all on a regular basis, busting the myth that there is nothing to see or do in Port Elizabeth. Happy birthday PEDP!
I think I’m going to take a little break from Campanile posts before people get tired of it. I have a few more but will keep it back for a week or two. Route 67 literally has 67 art pieces scattered along the way between the Donkin Reserve and Campanile. Next to the bus station at the bottom of the steps down from Market Square, you will find the Walk of Words. The pavement contains a whole host of words in different languages to represent the new South Africa and its prosperity as a democratic nation. As trying to decide which ones to photograph and this was the shot. PEACE and BLESSING.
It’s very easy to do a self-guided walk around Route 67 but if you really want to get the just of it then you have to do it on a guided tour. There are a number of guides who do the walk and more information is available from the Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism info centre at the Donkin Lighthouse building. When I visited the Campanile the other day there was a guide and intern based at the entrance who were available to guide visitors for free up the tower and tell them more about the history and recently completed renovations. I’m not sure how long the guides would be available to do these free tours, but while they are there I would highly recommend making use of them.
The Campanile is actually seen as the starting point of Route 67 going up the hill and ending at the Donkin Reserve. With the refurbishment and re-opening of the Campanile recently, it is now fully part of Route 67 and one of the novel bits that was added to the Campanile was marking step number 67 as you climb up the tower’s 204 steps.
Just for those unfamiliar with what Route 67 is, it consists of 67 public art pieces symbolising Nelson Mandela’s 67 years of work dedicated to the Freedom of South Africa. The artworks were all designed by local artists from the Eastern Cape and the route is a proud celebration of our city’s heritage and history.