IT is with great pleasure that we read about the revival of the Nelson Mandela statue, planned to be built at the peace park in Motherwell and not in Summerstrand, where most things in our city seems to centre around. I would however like to suggest an alternative location which would grant the Nelson Mandela Bay area even greater prospects for tourism proceeds, as well as honouring a great icon of this century.
As it is called Nelson Mandela Bay, why not design and build this massive statue on one of the islands (Jahleel, St Croix or Brenton) close to the Port of Ngqura (Coega), from where people can be transported to and around the island by charter boats and it can be seen from the air, sea and land as you enter or leave our city. This will surely become a major tourist attraction with much needed revenue for the city .
Also instead of the noted R500000 needed to design a new statue, why not give this opportunity to students at the NMMU architectural department or invite schools in the Bay to come up with a design?
The winning design can be rewarded with a bursary at one of the leading architectural companies in our city or schools can be rewarded with funds to upgrade and beautify their respective schools.
Think for one minute of the powerful message and lasting impression that can be created by this enormous statue on an island in the bay. Soon our statue too can be compared with the world’s greatest monuments like the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro and the Giza pyramids in Egypt.
For once an opportunity now lies wide open to the visionaries of this city to turn Nelson Mandela Bay into a major tourist destination like never before. If the municipality and the business chambers get their act together they can secure major funding from local and international business to make this happen and put Nelson Mandela Bay back on the tourist map.
Start with Bill Clinton when he next visits the city.
Build a jetty on the Swartkops River mouth to the left of the lifesaving club in Bluewater Bay, from where the boat can take tourists to and from the island – there is enough municipal land in that area for parking that is not being utilised. This is closer to the proposed statue than the Port Elizabeth harbour which means less fuel used, thus meaning cheaper and affordable prices for both local and international guests.
This will also be a great boost to a small community and create much needed work opportunities in the area.
Send a delegation to Cape Town, and find out how it and tourism companies operate their business to Robben Island.
I strongly feel that tourism in the Bay should not begin and end with Summerstrand and Humewood.
To the municipality and the business chambers I say, don’t get caught sleeping, it won’t be long before the powers in charge in Cape Town come up with an idea like this that will just again increase their tourism volumes – you were warned!
Adriaan Koekemoer, Bluewater Bay, Port Elizabeth