Mangaung: massive tents, long queues

2012-12-15 00:00

BIG, big, big, is the only way to describe the scale of the ANC’s 53rd annual conference in Mangaung.

Two massive tents, almost the size of a soccer field each, have been combined to house the 6 000 delegates and invited guests attending the plenary sessions at the University of the Free State.

The space is so huge that a delegate in one corner cannot see comrades at the other end.

To facilitate communication two big screens and 18 plasma screens are strategically placed. To cool off the delegates there are 48 air-conditioning units and 60 fans.

Thandi Shongwe, who has been in charge of the decor, was unable to say how many metres of material had been used for the drapes in the ANC’s colours — black, green and gold. They have been preparing the venue since November 20.

Outside the main venue, there are two eating halls that seat 3 000 guests each at one sitting. Beyond this is an open space and what Shongwe called the “ancestral village”, an exhibition of lifesize bronze statues of historical figures like warriors, missionaries, the Rain Queen, and Mahatma Gandhi.

Preparations appeared to be going smoothly, but registration was not. Service providers and journalists had to queue for hours to get their access tags.

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