L'Agulhas Lighthouse


Somerset West, South Africa

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Artist's Description

243 views so far 25 April 2011
Featured in Afrikaans is my mother tongue – 27 Jan 2011
Standing proudly on a small koppie at the bottom of the African continent since 1848, overlooking the Indian and Atlantic oceans, the L’Agulhas Lighthouse was modelled on the design of the Pharos of Alexandria in Egypt. When you view the rugged landscape and turbulent seas from the top of the lighthouse today, it’s hard to believe that it took a decade between the recommendation that a lighthouse be built (by the surveyor-general and civil engineer at the Cape Colony, Colonel CC Michell, after a tour of the area in 1837) and it happening. Many were opposed to the idea, arguing that ships’ captains ought to be vigilant.

At a public meeting to debate the issue in Cape Town in 1840, the farmer who was willing to donate land for the lighthouse to be built, Michiel van Breda, said he’d witnessed “ship after ship cast away, valuable cargoes strewed along the beach, and hundreds of human beings at a time washed up dead upon the shore” and that he hoped a lighthouse would be built “that I shall be relieved from the painful sight of dead bodies, so frequently washed up on my property.”

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Artwork Comments

  • DJ Florek
  • fourthangel
  • Maree Clarkson
  • fourthangel
  • Elizabeth Kendall
  • fourthangel
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