Yesterday Archbishop Desmond Tutu celebrated his 86th Birthday. To commemorate this special day for one of Cape Town’s Nobel Peace Prize laureates, affectionately known as The Arch, the City of Cape Town and Design Indaba created Arch for Arch at the entrance to The Company’s Garden, next to St Georges Cathedral, at the corner of Wale and Adderley Streets.

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille consulted with Design Indaba CEO Ravi Naidoo as to the most appropriate manner in which the City of Cape Town could honour this distinguished citizen of Cape Town, in acknowledging his birthday. The concept of the Arch for Arch was announced at the Design Indaba earlier this year. Yesterday the structure was inaugurated, in less than perfect weather. Coincidentally I had stopped in town to photograph the Arch for Arch, when the ribbon cutting ceremony was about to take place. I could not stay to witness the event, having to be elsewhere. 

The structure of the Arch for Arch consists of fourteen individual arched beams of wood, which together form a dome. The fourteen pillars of the Arch for Arch symbolise the 14 chapters of the South African Constitution.  South Africa’s constitution is considered to be one of the most progressive in the world. Similar to how an arch relies on a keystone to avoid collapse, ‘so too do South African freedoms rely on the Constitution‘ reads the media statement issued by the City of Cape Town.

The Arch for Arch was created by Craig Dykers of Snøhetta and Thomas Chapman, ironically not from Cape Town, the Design Indaba website informs. The wooden arches were bent by Croation boat builder Dario Farcic in Johannesburg, each pillar of the Arch for Arch having a line from the preamble of our country’s Constitution, being its founding principles.

Mayor De Lille said: ‘As a leader in our faith community, Archbishop Tutu continues to speak truth to power before and after our liberation. I was fortunate to be one of the members of the Constitutional Assembly that wrote the final Constitution. The Arch for the Arch (sic) representing the 14 chapters of our Constitution must be a constant reminder to all of us about where we come from and to uphold the values contained therein’.

A second Arch for Arch structure will be erected in Johannesburg, at Constitution Hill, on 10 December this year, to commemorate the 21st anniversary of the South African Constitution, according to Design Indaba. 

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein