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Saturday 13 December 2014

Dramatic sculpture a new highlight of the Cape Town night sky

Even at the luxurious Table Bay Hotel, kilometres away on the Cape Town waterfront, you can see the newly unveiled SunStar sculpture twinkling in the night sky from the peak of Signal Hill.

But the SunStar is no ordinary metal artwork - it symbolises the transformation of South Afrca to from apartheid outcast to beacon of hope.

Twenty years into a new democracy and almost a year since the passing of global icon Nelson Mandela, SunStar was launched

The 24-metre-high sun-shaped sculpture was conceptualised and designed by Cape Town artist and founder of the Robben Island Art Company and Trust (RIACT), Christopher Swift, as one of Cape Town's projects for its stint as Design Capital of the World 2014.

The SunStar is a temporary installation - although should it prove popular it may stay in situ for a while.

Constructed in large part from the steel from the original fence that once surrounded Robben Island, Nelson Mandela's long-time jail, the sculpture is designed to show how the ultimate symbol of apartheid has been transformed into an inspiring piece as a metaphor for the future of South Africa.
The structure is in the form of an eight-point star. The wiring from the Robben Island fence fills the internal areas of the sphere and is surrounded by a metal frame depicting the sun’s rays, to form the eight-pointed star.

“The SunStar is emblematic and a visual reminder to South Africans of how far the country has come since our first democratic elections, but also of the journey yet to come," says sponsor Sun International chief marketing and strategy officer Rob Collins.

The site for the SunStar sculpture was chosen for its impressive views over the city and to enable locals and tourists easy access.

Signal Hill has a shared history among all Capetonians and is easily accessible by road just a few minutes outside of the city centre, with uninterrupted views of Robben Island, Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, Devil’s Peak and the city.

Hotel guests are encouraged to stand beneath the sculpture to enjoy spectacular views of both the city and Robben Island.

Swift’s design takes the environment and sustainability into account. The sculpture features a solar-powered light system made up of low-power LED strip-lighting and floodlight support, which light up the sculpture at night, making it visible to visitors flying in and out of South Africa's second city.

# The writer was a guest of Sun International 

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