ZUURBERG HERITAGE PROJECT
Zuurberg, Eastern Cape
‘Through the eyes of a tourist’
Get off the bus/out of your car at the borrow site, assemble in the amphitheatre - get background info from posters/pamphlets/guide - buy/pick up pocket size stone and oxide powders (to individualise and mark the stone as 'mine').
The concept is obviously cave like earth sheltered structures with gabions as retaining walls against the hill behind and rough concrete floating structure that supports rooftop landscape - the hill literally flows onto the roof of the structures much like avalanche or rock fall protectors work (along Chapman's peak drive?). The concrete for the structure will be rough off shutter(timber formwork) and cambered upwards towards tower/sky lights that both light (shiny reflective north facing face) and ventilate the spaces below. The building 'snakes' along the hillside and forms a 'tunnelled' entry to the pathway to the memorial. Alongside the path before it enters the tunnel is a formalised amphitheatre overlooking a large open space that accommodates a bus load of visitors - this open area will be treed to provide shade as a lunch venue and could also serve as a venue for independent functions - music performances, story-telling etc.
Set off on the path. Up/narrow/constricted to the spur of the hill - open/outlook/ relief - descend along serpentine pathway to memorial below - 5 minutes max
Into the 'wooden cave' hollowed out of orthogonal block of stacked-to-cure timber - squared off gumpoles - dark with shafts of hazing natural light filtering through - mesmerizing - curvilinear bench around walls - pause/contemplate/dialogue - keywords of the narrative burned into ends of visible poles - names, dates, marks - scratches on prison walls - exit into bright sunlight with view of the isvivane (stone pile) 2-3m below - space defined by extensions of cave timbers over and on sides that give way to steel cords that twist/contort/agitate over the isvivane - twisted battle-field-steel - all contained/suspended within 7m high steel portals. Ramp snakes down to lower level - first right then left - resulting triangles landscaped/mapped to show terra-trans-forming' from natural/organic to orthogonal/controlled/ordered - to the isvivane - raised funeral pyre, sacrificial altar - a slab of polished marble with key words engraved and rough hewn edges - circum-ambulate following engraved text narrative - anti clockwise - place/toss YOUR stone- make a wish? - exit/escape through bars of the cage that are shaped/pulled apart - to either 1)return along road to bus/car or 2) up horse riding trail to the view back site.
The whole trip can be done in a wheelchair!