CHEERS, applause and whoops of delight were heard in the Red Square Quad at Eden College on Thursday, when an 80kg whale armature was delivered to the school, following weeks of work by learners on the ‘skin’ of the whale sculpture, which will be the official mascot for the Welcoming of the Whales Festival on 30 June.
Helga du Preez from Sodurba Tourism Association was among the many guests at the school on the day to welcome the 3m long armature. Helga said the South Durban Community Tourism Association launched the Welcoming of the Whales Festival last year, and Robin Opperman from Umcebo Design had made a mascot for the festival which was now hanging in the Sodurba office.
“As we plan on having a bigger and better festival this year, we felt we needed a bigger and better whale! I approached sponsors including Kempster Ford, Fabricon, Smartmatta and Umcebo Design to help make this a reality, and Eden College got on board to help as well in collaboration with Robin and his team. I am quite amazed at how the community came together to support this initiative,” she said.
The festival is a celebration of whales, especially hump back whales, which migrate between June and November on our coastline, as well as to create awareness about conservation and protection of whales.
“We are very excited about this whale project and the completed whale will be on display on 30 June at the Kempster Ford stand,” she said.
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Jean van Elden from Eden College said Robin approached her to be involved in the project and put her in contact with others to drive the collection of bottle tops which would form the cladding for the whale sculpture. “We were very excited to be involved and we can’t wait to see the final product. It was great for the kids to have hands-on experience and to see that they can do something constructive,” she said.
Sue Mazzoni, who heads up the Eco Club at Eden College, said the children loved being involved in the project. The children said they enjoyed learning about how to stitch bottle caps onto bases to create the skin and how to use soldering irons to make holes in the caps.
Selwin Swartz, CEO of Fabricon, was approached to construct the armature.
“We are passionate about the community and we tend to do things which are fun. When Sodurba approached us we couldn’t resist and were very excited about the project,” he said.
Fabricon is involved in the construction of pipelines, so this was something different for the company.
“We met with Robin and saw the art concept render designed by Mike McFadyean. It is so creative and super challenging and exciting to be involved in something which we could see come to life and be a part of a busy festival,” he said.
Selwin said he hand picked a team of his artisans with the most creative flair, and they set to work over three weeks, completing the armature two days ahead of schedule to deliver to the school.
Robin and his team have been busy on the final touches, adding the cladding to the armature, since Thursday. “The armature is so beautiful, it is a piece of art on its own, and we look forward to completing the project,” he said, adding that Eden College staff and learners had been a dream to work with.
About the festival
SODURBA’S Welcoming of the Whales Festival is on Saturday, 30 June at Brighton Beach.
Entrance is free. Families can enjoy whale spotting, a market, children’s activities, beach walks and more.
Contact [email protected] or 031 467 0404. Visit: www.sodurba.co.za.
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