The 2014 Tutu Fellow and chief architect at Makeka Design Lab, Mokena Makeka, has led a design vision and consortium to win a bid to design a new precinct for Nelson Mandela Bay. Nelson Mandela Bay is an area in the coastal city of Port Elizabeth in South Africa's Eastern Cape. The project is to redevelop the area and simultaneously honour Madiba’s contribution to South Africa, as well as elevate the city’s status as a hub for socio-economic transformation, tourism and employment opportunities.
The city hosted a competition open to all South Africans to submit their ideas, but it was Mokena's Nelson Mandela Bay Tower of Light concept that ultimately won.
Mokena's concept is "to create a towering beacon of light that spoke to the light that Mandela brought to the world, a light that resides within all of humanity. By ascending 27 flights, to a pinnacle point of reflection; a proverbial vertical long walk to freedom, the memorial becomes an experience, a transcendental sculpture that connects land to sea, ground to sky, the body to idea, and our current freedom to past sacrifice. We have positioned the landmark as crucial generator of economic growth and access to new public assets, by catalyzing a reimagined waterfront neighborhood for the citizens of Nelson Mandela Bay and the world.”
Yolandi Viljoen of Makeka Design Lab further adds, “the project adds to the legacy of Mandela and positions the city on a world stage in conversation with all of the great monuments of our time”
The monumental Nelson Mandela Bay Tower of Light is a 27-storey high interactive museum, with every storey marking each year that Nelson Mandela spent in prison. It will take visitors on a multisensory journey through the life and times of Nelson Mandela, culminating in a reflective tower on the top floor that includes a chrome statue of Madiba.
The Tower of Light consortium is composed of Makeka Design Lab, Gregg Scott and partners, M&C Saatchi and Abel on marketing and communications, and prominent Port Elizabeth businessman Khusta Jack.
The consortium will work with the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality on the rollout of the project. You can see more about the project in this video from Mokena's design lab.