Readers respond: Madiba on the mountain

2013-08-02 11:10


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A Dutch design firm's proposal of sprucing up one of Table Mountain's cliffs with a 60m-high monument to Madiba has been met by widespread disbelief and disapproval by most South Africans, if our readers' responses are anything to go by. 

The Cape Argus reported on Thursday that WHIM Architecture, the Dutch firm who pitched the idea on behalf an obscure Rotterdam-based organization called ‘Mandela on the bike foundation,' said that the proposed monument honouring Madiba "will teach next generations about the man who gave his life for justice and show his heritage." 

According to the paper, concept designs for the 12-storey monument including a restaurant, conference centre and exhibition area - all in the shape of Mandela's face - were posted on a dedicated website last month, timed to coincide with Madiba's birthday.

We asked our readers the following question: What do you think - would this be an asset to Table Mountain or would it detract from the natural beauty?

And this is what you said:

Iris Allen - They can't be serious!? To honour Madiba build schools, libraries, hospitals. He loves children. Let money be used to educate them all well; which also builds the nation. It is 1 August, not 1 April - this cannot be serious...

Seth Graham - My thoughts exactly madiba has made us proud and he will be rememberd for years to come. As proud as we are of him madiba would like us to be proud of our country and our national monuments. Actually a very stupid idea, but as always some dum politition will sit and say that it is a good idea. Rather ask madiba what be would think of the idea...

Neil White - This is absolutely absurd. Have they considered that this will most probably effect the natural wonder of the world status for the mountain. A natural wonder doesnt have a persons face stuck on the side. And enough of Nelson Mandela now. He has a street named after himself in every town and city in this country. No monument big or small will entice him to come off life support.

Gerdi Bosch - Definitely not.The Mountain is an "icon" on it's own.Mandela is already remembered and honoured in many ways.

Jonathan Newman - There is a view in the modern world that we own nature, and just because we can attempt to modify it, we should. Unfortunately, over time, rock moves, rockfalls occur etc and the stability of such a monument would soon become unsafe and unstable.

Further to this, Table Mountain is a premier rock climbing venue and generates reasonable tourism revenue. Many of South Africa's harder and more worthwhile routes (such as Vapour Trail (28), The Squid and the Whale (31) and The Last of the Mohawks (31/32)). Such a monument would damage such routes and could overall cost the nation in this regard. Outright a bad idea!

Harry Baloyi - We have enough monuments for Madiba and his statues. We don't want to seem like the Asian countries that embedded the faces of the gods on mountains.

Herbert Smith - NO PLEASE. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. His memory is visible in his deeds. If a grotesque image is needed to remind generations of him, then he is not worthy to be remembered !!

Andrew Nieuwmeyer - Table Mountain is already an attraction.
The Americans created Mount Rushmore in the middle of nowhere to attract tourists. Now it attracts millions to that area. If they are serious about this they should do the same.
Find a nondescript mountain in the Karroo, maybe within sight of the N1, and build it there. It will attract tourists and jobs. There are hundreds of Tafelbergs in the Karoo to choose from.

Jayson Beckwith - This gives new meaning to the words "head of the table" but if that's what they propose it looks like?? Damn it's frikken hideous. It's like they trying to pull off a Mount Rushmore just in puke green.

Tumzaza Tyamzashe - Mandela, we love you. But not on our world heritage site. It will look like we are now worshipping you more than GOD. You got so many statues and building names after you across the country mos' ... what are we going to be asked next. Name our chilidren after Nelson Mandela? C'mon!

Lufuno Mutepe - Its no secret that the man is still a living legend and he deserves to be honoured for that,but that's a bit too extreme. Let the Dutch firm build it in their own country,not here!!!.

Sandile Makana - Please stop this foolishness. If not broken don't fix it.This is one of the wonders of the wold. Tell the Dutch design firm to go and build this in the middle of Amsterdam not on Xhorhi's mountain ( table mountain) Please google who Xhorhi was.

Henk Barnard - Relax, people... this is a moneymaking racket by a bunch of Dutch scamsters. They're gonna collect the money and disappear. First of all, and most importantly, the natural layering of the rock on Table Mountain simply does not allow a Mount Rushmore-style carving. It simply cannot be done on Table Mountain. End of story. No matter how much you donate to this 'company'. The mere fact that this Dutch proposal doesn't cater for the geological realities of our mountain indicates a huge scam. With capital letters. A SCAM. So, relax, and don't choke on your coffee.

There were, however, also a few who thought it would be an asset to the natural wonder:

"An asset to Table Mountain indeed. The World loves our Icon," Dora Rathethe said

"It will be great to have such a place to honour the gr8 man," Ngoqopp said. 

Melissa De Wet - Great idea - make it an international design competition! 

Well, the majority of our readers will be happy to know that the chances of a proposal such as this being approved is highly unlikely. Table Mountain National Park manager Paddy Gordon said "I nearly fell off my chair" when seeing the images.

He added that as custodians of the international iconic site, they could not even begin to consider the proposal, especially in terms of the mountain's legal status as a national park and World Natural Heritage Site.

Read more on:    nelson mandela  |  cape town  |  table mountain  |  travel south africa

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