The site which has been earmarked for the Africa Peace Centre is one of the prime pieces of coastal land in South Africa. Occupied for many years by the South African military, the land had great strategic value during World War 2, and was used as a base for the apartheid government's incursions into Mozambique and elsewhere. There is a beautiful irony in the land now being committed to peace.
ACCORD has already held an architectural competition to select a firm of architects to design the new Centre, which attracted architects from as far afield as Egypt, Côte d'Ivoire, the DRC, Malawi and Tanzania. The requirements for the building include a number of interesting aspects - not least of which is the principle of environmentally-sustainable design and low impact.
This is the view from the site. It sits on the end of the Bluff, with a stunning view out to sea, and back at the harbour. Access to the site is still under discussion. Currently a tunnel exists under the harbour entrance, and this is to be rehabilitated as a pedestrian walkway. Arrangements will then be made to get people up to the top via one of a variety of different means.
Recently, ACCORD Staff team took some time out of the office to to dream a little. A trip was made across town to the Bluff Headland, proposed new site of the Africa Peace Centre.
There are several old historic buildings on the site. They will be restored and integrated into the design. This one is the old lighthouse (the portion on the left). It was originally a steel structure, and was then ensconced in concrete to support it from the vibrations of the big guns on the military base. In WW2, it was chopped off at the level you see here, to give the guns line of site, as there were fears that a U-Boat would hide in the shadow cast behind the structure. It is a little-known fact that Winston Churchill planned to use the Bluff as a last retreat to fight out the end of WW2,and there is a bunker that is still equipped and set up as it was then for his use.
There is finally a great sense of being on the road to vision becoming reality, down here on the southern tip of Africa. There will be much news on our website in months to come about small and large steps taken in pursuit of the dream. Please return often and join us in being part of it.