Tower of Light
The Nelson Mandela Tower of Light concept encompasses a 27-storey building constructed predominantly of glass, with each floor representing a year of Mandela’s prison sentence at Robben Island. These 27-storeys are divided into three phases representing different aspects of his struggle. The first section represents his pre-prison phase, where the visitors can learn about the man who would become the symbol of hope for the entire world. Further up the stairs towards phase two marks his imprisonment.
This section is a silent section representing the banned voice of the people’s leader. A silence which creates the feeling of solitude that he experienced in confinement. In the last section at the pinnacle of the structure is his prison cell which has been recreated to size. Here, a statue of Madiba can be found sitting inside on the bed. It is here on the top floor that the spirit is captured in a space of reflection. The journey up the tower also provides a sonic experience, where visitors are greeted by the sounds of Qunu, excerpts of the Rivonia trial, and Madiba’s anecdotes and speeches to the nation as the visitor ascends towards the light.
The building represents an embodiment of Madiba’s spirit – it is straight and upstanding like he was and emcompasses his spirit, whose light will always be here. It is important to highlight that the balance of light and dark is a metaphoric representation of his life, the good and bad years, as well as appreciation. It is imperative that the experience evokes a feeling of being in the presence of greatness.
Recommended site – St George’s Park The first step in the Tower of Light Precinct Business Plan was to identify a potential site for the proposed development. For a potential site to be considered as a possible location for the development, it was required to meet a minimum set of preconditions. The report recommends St George’s Park as the ideal and preferred site for the establishment of the Tower of Light.
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