Commissioned for the new ConventionTower building on Cape Town’s foreshore, Olduvai stands three stories high above the traffic on the Heerengracht. Welded steel, 2004.
The title refers to the 5000 km long Rift Valley in Africa. The Olduvai Gorge has been a rich source of anthropological discovery, especially relating to our hominid ancestors.
Olduvai attests to human endeavour, global commerce and travel.
The sculpture is meant to act as a ‘placemaker’. Iconic, contemporary, and enigmatic. Like the building it accompanies it is audacious and technically challenging.
Olduvai Gorge, located in the Eastern Rift, is the site of discovery of a 600,000 year-old skeleton, the so-called ‘Olduvai Man’, in 1913. Scientific scepticism was only finally laid to rest in the 1950s with the discovery by Kenyan palaeoanthropologists of the fossil foortprints at Laetoli (displaying traces of hominids with an erect gait) and further important palaeological finds at Olduvai. The first artifacts in Olduvai date to circa 2 million years ago and fossil remains of human ancestors have been found from as long as 2.5 million years ago. There are a number of so-called ‘beds’, all of them bearing traces of hominid forms. During a period of volcanic activity some 400,000 to 600,000 years ago, the Masek Beds were formed. These contained tools from a Kenya-Capsian industry made by modern humans. The Naisiusiu bed has a depth of 33 ft and contains one site that has microlithic tools and one complete Homo Sapien skeleton, which dates back 17,000 years.
View: unveiling video on YouTube