One of South Africa’s most popular (and simultaneously unpopular) cartoonists is Jonathan “Zapiro” Shapiro. This is his take on recent events.
Last Sunday, huge crowds turned out to see the demolition of the Athlone Cooling Towers, something of a landmark on the Cape Flats. There are a lot of videos of the event on the web, but this one, from Silver Bullet Productions, is by far the best I’ve seen. (And thanks to @GusSilber for the Twitter link.)
In 2006, I wrote about proposals to redevelop the Athlone Power Station. More than three years later, it’s the the site that is making the first move. On February 14th, “some concrete rings around one of the towers started falling off”, and engineers fear for their imminent collapse. The City of Cape Town, owners of the site, have now decided to demolish the towers within weeks.
Only 48 years old, and therefore not protected under the Heritage Resources Act, it was never very likely that a case was going to be made for retention based on their ‘heritage value’. Undoubtedly a lot of people will be happy to see them go, not least those who have been living in their shadow in Langa all these years, but they undoubtedly do have a ‘landmark value’ in the area.
But the best proposals for adaptive (and environmentally friendly) reuse of the towers have to have come from the pen of local cartoonist Chip Snaddon, and published in the Argus.
Plans well underway for demolition of Athlone cooling towers at the end of May
Latest concerns for the for the future of Battersea Power Station, and a summary of the ‘story so far’ in the Guardian today.