Beacon of hope refurbished

2019-03-19 06:00
The newly refurbished Lightfoot Memorial.PHOTOS: THABANG KUAHO

The newly refurbished Lightfoot Memorial.PHOTOS: THABANG KUAHO

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The life of the late Thomas Lightfoot was celebrated last week when Cape Town mayor Dan Plato and Ward 116 councillor Dave Bryant unveiled a refurbished monument in his honour.

Situated on Adderley Street, the Lightfoot Memorial Monument pays tribute to Lightfoot who dedicated his life fighting against injustice and championed the rights of destitute and vulnerable communities, many of whom were emancipated slaves in the 1800s.

However, the refurbishment of the memorial is not fully complete. The next phase will see the surrounding concrete benches being covered with mosaics of flowers and the whole area will be upgraded.

Plato hailed Lightfoot for playing a huge part in Cape Town’s history. “Archdeacon Lightfoot worked to make the lives of poor people a little easier. He lived his life in service of others, which made him a public servant and the message of his life is to live with kindness and generosity,” he said.

He further said that Lightfoot showed the current generation that kindness and respect can give dignity back to those from whom it was taken.

“The memorial of Archdeacon Lightfoot is a beacon of hope to remind us that we have the power to improve lives,” Plato further added.

He said the occasion was a significant one because of the humanitarian work he has done.

“He was a highly-rated person. He clashed with authorities because of his belief of bringing people together.”

With a lot of memorials in the city centre; many of which are controversial, Bryant said this one was a special one with no controversy behind it.

“It is a memorial for somebody who had selfless dedication and commitment towards helping the poor and impoverished. It is a story which is not often told,” Bryant explained.

“It is heroes like these who often get forgotten when history books are written and it is important to make sure that we continue to remember those people who have contributed in ways that do not always go noticed.”

Architect Jan Corewijn was awarded the tender to restore the memorial. He has been doing restoration work with the City for many years.

The project took him and his four assistants eight months to finish.

“Basically, I did the methodology but I preserved everything that was there. I just had to sort out the erosion of the marble and filling of gaps here and there,” Corewijn said.

Asked whether more memorials in the City will be refurbished, Plato said he was not sure.

“This was one that was already on the cards. You could not even see his picture anymore,” Plato concluded.

Archdeacon Thomas Lightfoot was ordained a deacon in 1857 and arrived in Cape Town in 1858, where he was attached to St George’s Cathedral.

He was ordained a priest in 1859, became a canon of the Cathedral in 1868, and Archdeacon of the Cape in 1885.

He founded St Paul’s Mission, and the cornerstone on the Orphan Street end of St Paul’s Church, Bree Street, is inscribed to his memory.

He died in 1904.

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