Residents are being give rare access to the magnificent Evangelical Seminary of Southern Africa (Essa) cross at the old Lutheran Chapel in Pietermaritzburg.
Sculpted by Gert Swart, the three metre Yellowwood cross was created to honour all those who lost their lives as a result of political violence in South Africa, including during the seven days war in Msunduzi in March 1990.
The beautiful cross took two years to make and includes symbols related to the Anglo-Zulu and Anglo-Boer wars and the violence in the eighties and early nineties that led to 20 000 deaths.
The wood for the Essa cross came from Amafa, KwaZulu-Natal’s heritage body.
According to Swart the huge piece of Yellowwood was probably about 100 years old and may well have been used as a beam in a church somewhere in the province. Unveiled on September 9, 2001, the cross can be viewed from 10 am to 12 noon and from 2 pm to 4 pm on Friday, March 19.
Visitors to the chapel, on the corner of Pine and Langalibalele Streets, can also use the time for silent prayer and meditation.
Hosted by Project Gateway and The Old Prison, Friday’s event aims to celebrate Human Rights Day. Before or after visiting the chapel, residents are encouraged to view more of the city’s history at The Old Prison Museum.