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Change the world


Nelson Mandela Bay residents have an opportunity to contribute to the aesthetic revitalisation of the Gqeberha central business district — and bag a few thousand rand in the process.

Nelson Mandela University and the Central Special Rates Area (SRA) have partnered to transform the bland walls of the building at the corner of Lawrence and Parliament streets; No 7 Havelock Street; and 11A Alfred Terrace into head-turning artistic displays.

University spokesperson Zandile Mbabela said they had opted to launch the competition with a focus on Central as up to 10,000 NMU students were living and working in the area.

“In this case, it’s an opportunity to lighten, brighten and spread goodwill through artworks — be it graffiti, painting or drawing — on three identified buildings across Central.”

Mbabela said the designer whose work earned first prize would receive R10,000, second place R5,000 and third place R2,500.

NMU arts, culture and heritage deputy director Ryan Pillay, who is co-ordinating the project, said the competition was open to anyone in the metro.

He said partnering with the SRA was mutually beneficial as the agency looked after the safety and security as well as the rights of all residents, whether they were landlords, owners or tenants.

“Our partnership with them is ongoing to strengthen communities both through infrastructure security and living spaces through art, and this rejuvenation is an example of that,” Pillay said.

“The theme of the project is [messages of] hope, spreading positivity and injecting creativity into the city.”

He said the strategy for the university in terms of arts, culture and heritage was moving towards art for transformation, social cohesion and wellness.

“Now, more than ever, we have to locate our creativity to bring new vistas, a new imagination to give people a sense of wellbeing and balance,” Pillay said. “Now we need to give people art so that they can be inspired.

“The university has also previously partnered with the MBDA in and around the city [for these types of projects].”

Pillay said there were plans to expand the project to the Missionvale area as well as George. He said a team would choose the top three from the proposals and each would get the chance to paint at one of the three locations.

“We will provide the paint, brushes and everything needed, and the public will then get a chance to vote on which of the three looks best,” he said.

Entries close on September 27, and proposals can be emailed to

This article appeared in The Herald (South Africa) on 21 September 2021 written by Naziziphiwo Buso

Contact information
Mr Ryan Pillay
Deputy Director: Arts, Culture and Heritage
Tel: 041 504 2508