A 27-storey glass tower, the recent winner in a design competition run by Nelson Mandela Bay in Port Elizabeth, will serve as a monument and an interactive museum, with each of its floors honouring the former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, whilst boosting tourism at the same time.

The city opened the competition to all South Africans to design a new precinct for Nelson Mandela Bay honouring Mandela’s contribution to South Africa, and to elevate the city’s status as a hub for socio-economic transformation, tourism and employment opportunities, with the winning consortium including Makeka Design Lab, Gregg Scott and Partner, M&C Saatchi and Abel, and PE businessman, Khusta Jack, whose 27-storey ‘Tower of Light’ pays tribute to each of the years Mandela spent in prison. It takes visitors on a multisensory journey, culminating in a reflective tower on the top floor.

According to Glenton De Kock, CEO of Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism, the precinct that will surround the Nelson Mandela Bay Tower of Light has the potential to enhance visitor experience, increase visitor numbers and spend to the city, strengthening the tourism sector’s ability to contribute to the local economy. “We are extremely excited by the announcement of the proposed development of the Tower of Light,” he added

The positioning of the landmark will be a crucial generator of economic growth and provide access to new public assets, according to Mokena Makeka, Founder and Principal of Makeka Design Lab. “Our choice of site will unlock a new waterfront, transform the relationship between the city and the sea. The impact of the V&A Waterfront on the success of Cape Town is a critical case study for how relaxation of old colds can unlock new partnerships for generations.”

Being the only destination that bears the former President’s name, De Kock added: “This development will be a unique tourism attraction that showcases Madiba’s attributes. The significant boost to our city’s ability to entice future travellers and investors is gaining momentum as our destination unveils its Spatial Development Plans for new and exciting tourism attractions within key nodes of our city.”

 According to Yolandi Vorster of Makeka Design Lab, the project adds to the legacy of Mandela and positions the city on a world stage.

 “Our vision is to make Nelson Mandela Bay one of the top ten places you must visit in your lifetime,” concluded Makeka.