Excerts from ËMASIKO ASE MPUMALANGA HERITAGE ERFENIS newsletter 221

 

To join Mpumalanga Heritage:  Contact Linda Grimbeek at Kruger Lowveld Tourism at linda@klcbt.co.za or

013 755 1988. Membership is R175.00 per year.

 

CONTENT/INHOUD:

CLARITY ABOUT THE COSTS OF THE MBOMBELA MANDELA MEMORIAL

BONNEFOI

THE VANDALISATION OF THE BELVEDERE POWER STATION

BOOK REVIEW: AN ESSENTIAL COMPANION WHEN TRAVELLING THE BARBERTON MAKHONJWA GEOTRAIL

 

NEXT OUTINGS

No more outings are scheduled for this year. A preliminary list and possible dates of some of our monthly activities for next year will appear in our next newsletter. These will only be confirmed after our planning meeting scheduled for early January 2019  

 

CLARITY ABOUT THE COSTS OF THE MBOMBELA MANDELA MEMORIAL

 

The following media release was issued by Mpumalanga Heritage/Erfenis on Friday 9 November 2018:

Mpumalanga Heritage has great concerns about the manner of how funds from the limited budget of the Department of Sports, Arts & Culture were spent on the erection of a statue of the previous state president, Nelson Mandela, at the Mpumalanga legislature at Riverside in Mbombela.

It came to our knowledge that an amount of up to R8 million was spent without a clear breakdown or budget of the expenditure for the project being open to the public.  Indications are that this money was also spent on expenses outside the heritage sphere.

 

Chairman of Mpumalanga Heritage (MH), Duncan Ballantyne says he also became aware of some public concerns about the aesthetic merits of the six-metre bronze sculpture, though this is of less concern to this organization. The aesthetic merits are a matter apart and the premier of the province, Refilwe Mtshweni, had already said in a media statement that those involved should deal with the matter and come with answers.  

The statue was made by local artist Michael Canadas and was cast at his foundry outside White River.  According to reports a price for the statue was negotiated by the Department of Sports, Arts & Culture, which was far less than the disputed amount of R8 million which finally changed hands with an unknown facilitator by the name of Mishkah Theron.

According to reports in the media, the 25-year-old Theron, operating from a residential address in Mbombela, could not be traced.  Apparently, she is the daughter of a well-known Mbombela businessman. Theron’s previous experience in this field, dealing with statues and public memorials, also remains undisclosed.

Mpumalanga Heritage is a civic organisation operating as a registered NPO consisting of paid up members. It is affiliated with the Heritage Association of South Africa (previously The Simon van der Stel Foundation) and enjoys representation on its board of directors.

Since the statue was unveiled on 25 September this year, Mpumalanga Heritage has been following reports about this project in the media. These indicate either the Department of Sports, Arts & Culture’s inability or its unwillingness to explain or disclose this matter, amidst rumours indicating that only a portion of the money was allocated to this project.

Ballantyne said he is very much aware of the limited funding set aside in the provincial budget for heritage projects in Mpumalanga. He is also aware of the dereliction, followed by the inadequacy, of the Department of Sports, Arts & Culture to maintain and take care of its heritage assets and responsibilities.

Mpumalanga Heritage recently teamed up with the Lowveld and Escarpment Fire Protection Association (LEFPA) to clear up the site and repaint the palisade fencing of the mass grave in Waterval Boven of the 63 Mozambican mine workers who tragically lost their lives on Wednesday, 16 November 1949, in one of the worst rail disasters ever to have occurred in South Africa.   The memorial at the site of disaster at the Elands River was also re-erected and reinforced.

Mpumalanga Heritage hereby request the Department of Sports, Arts & Culture and all involved with this matter to be transparent about the costs of this project and to bring whatever the situation is, out into the open.  

Issued:  Friday 9 November 2018 Mpumalanga Heritage/Mpumalanga Historical Interest Group Reg.126-240NPO

Contact: Marius Bakkes 082 852 7289  

 

The following report was published in Lowveld of Tuesday 13 November 2018:

MBOMBELA – Another civic organisation has asked the provincial government for clarity about the cost breakdown of the more than R8 million spent on the controversial statue of former president Nelson Mandela at the legislature in Riverside.

Mpumalanga Heritage said in a media release it has great concerns about the manner in which funds from the limited budget of the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture were spent. Indications are that this money was also spent on expenses outside the heritage sphere.

Chairman of Mpumalanga Heritage (MH), Duncan Ballantyne said he also became aware of some public concerns about the aesthetic merits of the six-metre bronze sculpture, though this is of less importance to this organisation. According to the latest news reports, some elements of the statue such as the head, an arm and the outfit will be fixed at no additional costs.

The statue was made by local artist Michael Canadas and was cast at his foundry outside White River. According to reports, a price was negotiated by the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, which was

far less than the disputed amount of R8 million which finally changed hands with an unknown facilitator by the name of Mishkah Theron.

The 25-year-old Theron, operating from a residential address in Mbombela, referred all enquiries about herself and her abilities as service provider to the department. Apparently, she is the daughter of a well-known Mbombela businessman. An example of Theron’s previous experience in dealing with statues and public memorials cited by the department was the Saul Mkhize statue in Gert Sibande District.

Mpumalanga Heritage is a civic organisation operating as a registered NPO consisting of paid-up members. It is affiliated with the Heritage Association of South Africa (previously The Simon van der Stel Foundation) and enjoys representation on its board of directors.

Since the statue was unveiled on September 25 this year, Mpumalanga Heritage has been following reports about this project in the media. These indicate either the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture’s inability or unwillingness to explain or disclose this matter, amid rumours indicating that only a portion of the money was allocated to this project.

Ballantyne said he is indeed aware of the limited funding set aside in the provincial budget for heritage projects in Mpumalanga. He is also aware of the dereliction, followed by the inadequacy, of the department to maintain and care for its heritage assets and responsibilities.

Mpumalanga Heritage recently teamed up with the Lowveld and Escarpment Fire Protection Association (LEFPA) to clear the site and repaint the palisade fencing of the mass grave in Waterval Boven of the

63 Mozambican mine workers who tragically lost their lives on Wednesday November 16, 1949, in one of the worst rail disasters ever to have occurred in South Africa. The memorial at the site of disaster at the Elands River was also re-erected and reinforced.

Ballantyne requested the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, and all involved with this matter, to be transparent about the costs of this project and to bring whatever the situation is out into the open.

The department did not respond to Lowvelder’s questions on the matter at the time of going to press.

 

VISIT TO BONNEFOI & LEKKERDRAAI

It is difficult to accuse any party of being responsible for the rapid decline of the Hamlet of Bonnefoi – once the home of four generations of South African artists also known as the Everard group. It is about four years since Mpumalanga Heritage last undertook an excursion to these clusters of late Victorian old-Transvaal structures. It was sad to see how decay, but mostly vandalism, had taken its toll since. As a declared South African Heritage Resource Agency (SAHRA) heritage site, it is sad that government is not fulfilling its heritage mandate by maintaining and at least securing the current state of the structures. First prize will be to transform it into a useable cultural, training or commercial centre.

 

The owner of the farmland on which these structures, a trading store and some outbuildings, a church, the remains of an old inn and the manor house, is situated, has no immediate means to restore the complex though it remains a dream to maybe one day get one of his children interested to save these remains. He and his family are very much aware of the historic significance of the site as a home to an established group of artists, its architectural value as well as the fact that it also served as a safe house during the struggle.

 

Sappi Forests, current owner of the farm Lekkerdraai on the Komati River, are the custodians of the ruins of the Everard buildings erected there, from 1910 onwards.  There are the remains of several different structures, serving various purposes, over quite a large area. The large, rectangular, walled enclosure that surrounded the vegetable gardens is particularly well-preserved.  All the sites are kept as clear as possible in an effort to preserve the standing walls and other structures. Our thanks go to Sappi for these ongoing efforts.

 

One of our members, Alicia Whitting compiled this photo montage of the past and present of Bonnefoi including some pictures from the winter farm Lekkerdraai down in the Komati valley, which was also included in the recent visit:

 

       

 

_________________________________________

 

THE VANDALISATION OF THE BELVEDERE POWER STATION

The following was posted on Facebook by Kevin Ruthven

Then and now… 8 years ago and now… how could this happen…

Interesting facts…

Building from start to finish was accomplished in an incredible one year period. Estimated building cost was R248,000 and was completed for R250,000. The first pick was put into the ground on 7 June 1910 and on 20 June 1911 the water was released… the station was officially opened on 31 July 1911.

The 3 General Electric generators each charged by one Power Water Turbine charging 2,300 volts each. This was stepped up to 22,000 volts volts through the tranformers before distribution. By 1966 the station produced 484 million units at an average cost of 0.141 cents per kWh.

The turbines were imported from the Pelton Water Wheel Company in Sacramento California… shipped to Lorenco Marques… by rail to Machadodorp and ox wagon to Belvedere. At places the gradient drops 1m for every 3 metres.

December 1914 and January 1915 were the wettest months in the history of the station… in January ±650mm of rain fell. All the sluice gates were opened and the station passed the test… only to lay forgotten at the bottom of the valley. Sad indeed.

 

2010

2018

 

ABOUT BOOKS/OOR BOEKE

 

AN ESSENTIAL COMPANION WHEN TRAVELLING THE BARBERTON MAKHONJWA GEOTRAIL

 

 

The following book review by Kathy Munro of Barberton Makhonjwa Geotrail – Geosites and Viewpoints. Authors: Tony Ferrar & Christoph Heubeck, appeared on the Heritage Portal on

2.11.2018

First question – what is a geotrail? Let this book introduce you to the concept and the place. A geotrail is a route that takes us on a journey through remote time and space to geologically important sites and viewpoints (in this case in the Makhonjwa mountains). This is time travel at its best. Geology becomes the tool and the source of organized knowledge to find evidence of the earliest life forms on earth – a band of single cell organisms visible to the naked eye. This unique place reveals what happened on earth 3.4 billion years ago. This should inspire you to race to Barberton and the Makhonjwa mountains. You have to place this magical area on your “bucket list”. How fortunate we are that this tourism drawcard is so close to the Kruger National Park, another world-beating heritage place. Not to mention that this is mining history country.

 

 

Comments are closed.