By Ovaua Kuaima
THE much-awaited renovations to the historical Diaz Point in Luderitz are on track with the completion of the first phase which is the repair of the steps and replacement of the railings up to the Dias Cross Heritage Site. This is according to Crispin Clay, the acting chairperson of the Dias Bridge Committee, which is spearheading the renovations at the site. Clay added that the progress is due to kind donations of cash, cement, materials, food, time, effort and know-how by friends far and near. “The funds that were provided entirely by generous donors in Luderitz, across Namibia, South Africa, Germany and England, covered all costs so far of about N$70,000, leaving a positive balance as ‘seed money’ for the next phase. We are immensely grateful to all who have made this possible,” said Clay. “We sold the wood of the old bridge, leaving the eastern end and a pair of pillars as a memento, plus two beams left in place in the new landing at the foot of the steps. Our admirable local team worked in icy winds and some high swells from 18 August to 05 September under the supervision of Milton Pitt and Josef Kaunda Amupolo,” Clay added. Clay continued: “They were supervised, provided for and assisted gratis by our Project Manager HelmuthSyvertsen, a 5th generation Buchter, to whom our huge gratitude goes for his generous contribution and enthusiasm. According to Clay the handrails and concrete-filled posts made by Namgreenwood of recycled plastic and wood should not be affected by swells and gales at Dias Point for generations. He said the second phase will include the construction of a safe structure across the tidal river with sizes, designs and estimates still to be reconsidered. “This phase will more closely involve the National Heritage Council and the full Luderitz Town Council, both of which are eager to start as soon as possible,” he emphasised. Tourism attraction The famous Diaz Cross at Diaz Point, which forms part of the Diamond Coast nature reserve in the Tsau//Kaeb Sperrgebiet National Park, is a unique place to visit and is situated 22 km west of Luderitz on a beautiful peninsula. Protruding some 50 m (164 ft) into the South Atlantic, the Diaz Point offers exciting and sweeping views of the ocean. Set against a background of black rock and the sparkling blue waters of the bay, the beach setting is a bird lover’s paradise and gives visitors beautiful views and brilliant star-gazing and photo opportunities. History Following Diogo Cão’s 1485-86’s voyage, King João II of Portugal ordered a further voyage of exploration off the west coastline of Africa. Embarking on his voyage in August 1487, Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias became the first European mariner to round the southern tip of Africa, opening the way for a sea route from Europe to Asia. On the return voyage, they anchored at Angra Pequena [Luderitz Bay] on July 24, 1488 and erected a cross made of stone called a Padrao. The cross was inscribed with the Portuguese Coat of Arms. This was the last of three Padroes that were erected during the course of their journey, claiming ‘newly discovered’ land.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015