New­town Heads of Africa ex­pected to get long-awaited re­fur­bish­ments

The Star Late Edition - - METRO WATCH -

THE New­town heads are soon to be re­fur­bished.

The wooden carved heads have been an at­trac­tion to an area which houses the Mary Fitzger­ald Square and Mu­se­umAfrica.

They were made from dis­used rail­way sleep­ers, and fea­ture heads from var­i­ous coun­tries and tra­di­tions across the African con­ti­nent.

The Jo­han­nes­burg De­vel­op­ment Agency (JDA) said a team of artists would soon be re­fur­bish­ing the col­lec­tion.

The target is to put up 40 new art­works in New­town in the next fi­nan­cial year.

The city’s arts, cul­ture and her­itage depart­ment will head the project.

Some 150 need re­pair, 90 are dam­aged be­yond re­pair and 168 are miss­ing.

The JDA also plans to in­stall sto­ry­boards on the his­tory of the area.

The Heads of Africa sculp­tures, as they are called, were first in­stalled about 17 years ago.

A sur­vey has been done of the art­works to iden­tify which heads need to be re­placed or re­paired.

Americo Guambe, one of the main artists in­volved in the orig­i­nal creation of the heads, will head a new team which will be tasked with cre- at­ing new heads to re­place and re­pair them.

The bare con­crete plinths which hold the heads will be dec­o­rated.

Later in the year, the work will be ex­tended to other parts of New­town.

RESTORA­TION: The New­town heads, some of which have been van­dalised and stolen, are to be re­stored.

RE­FUR­BISH­MENT: Eric Itzkin, City of Joburg deputy di­rec­tor of im­mov­able her­itage, in­spect­ing the New­town heads, which are to be re­stored.

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