Remembering Mandela

by Michael Vlismas on

sunstarA year ago, South Africa lost one of its greatest leaders in Nelson Mandela during the Nedbank Golf Challenge. A year later, and a great life is still being celebrated.

The entrance to the Gary Player Country Club features a display of some iconic artwork of Mandela, one of which has particular significance as it contains a very real piece of history.

A portrait of Mandela by artist Marc Alexander has a piece of the Robben Island prison fence attached to it, and people attending the golf can bid on it as part of a silent auction.

The artwork is part of the broader Robben Island Fence Art Project, one of the highlights of which is the iconic Sun Star on Signal Hill and of which Sun International is a patron.

According to Yvonne Johnston, Marketing Director of the Robben Island Fence Art Project, the fence was rescued purely by chance.

“An artist named Chris Swift was on a visit to the island and he saw piles of metal there which were the remnants of the fence, and they were going to throw it away. So he rescued it. We’ve turned it into beautiful pieces of art, the largest of which is the Sun Star on top of Signal Hill in Cape Town and created by Chris.”

The Sun Star overlooks Robben Island, and Alison McKie, the Group Manager: Marketing Sun International, said it serves as a powerful symbol of hope and the embodiment of the past and future of South Africa.

“Sun International sponsored the materials that built the main structure for the Sun Star, and we felt it particularly appropriate to become involved not only as a tribute to such a great man, but also because Nelson Mandela opened our Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town, and the star is visible from the hotel.”

The Sun Star has already drawn immense interest from international tourists.

“We think it can become an iconic structure on the Cape Town skyline,” said Johnston.

“But without corporate sponsorship such as this from Sun International, massive art structures just wouldn’t happen.”

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