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Anton Lembede Bachelor of Law, by artist Sakhile Mhlongo

Largest Privately Funded Piece of Public Art in KZN Revealed


An enormous piece of permanent public art, depicting the late Anton Lembede has been installed on the corner of Anton Lembede Street (formerly Smith Street) and Six Durban Club Place to mark the start of the regeneration of Durban Club Place, a dedicated professional and legal quarter in central Durban.

The artwork, entitled Anton Lembede Bachelor of Law, is the largest privately funded public art piece in KZN and one of the largest in the country, covering just under 600sqm.

Anton Lembede Bachelor of Law, by artist Sakhile Mhlongo, commissioned by Urban Lime, is the largest privately funded public art piece in KZN
Anton Lembede Bachelor of Law, by artist Sakhile Mhlongo, commissioned by Urban Lime, is the largest privately funded public art piece in KZN

“Research shows that public art plays a very important part in urban regeneration, by making an immediate impact and land-mark statement in a city as well as offering people a sense of place, hope and history,” says Jonny Friedman CEO of commercial property specialists Urban Lime.

Urban Lime Properties commissioned artist Sakhile Mhlongo, a DUT graduate who has also painted portraits of several prominent figures for the city of Durban.  His depiction is of a full length Anton Lembede the lawyer, wearing a trim suit in shades of charcoal, carrying his legal briefcase, striding purposefully towards court.  Mhlongo said “I am honoured to be part of such an important step in the regeneration of the city I love.”

Andrew Layman consultant to the KZN branch of South African Property Owners Association said “If you have a big player with that level of commitment to improvement it can make a significant difference.  Friedman is championing Durban and it is what the city needs. The artwork is a symbol of the beginning of a revival.”

Eric Apelgren (eThekwini Municipality); Sibongile Lembede (Anton Lembede Family Trust); Jonny Friedman (Urban Lime) and artist Sakhile Mhlongo at the revealing of the mural: Anton Lembede Bachelor of Law.
Eric Apelgren (eThekwini Municipality); Sibongile Lembede (Anton Lembede Family Trust); Jonny Friedman (Urban Lime) and artist Sakhile Mhlongo at the revealing of the mural: Anton Lembede Bachelor of Law.

“This piece is a direct nod to the extraordinary legal profession in this country and to the youth of South Africa.  Lembede was told ‘no’ a thousand times, yet he persevered, becoming a qualified lawyer just prior to the dawn of the apartheid era, proving that the impossible really is possible,” said Friedman.

Fact Sheet: Installation of Public Art – ‘Anton Lembede, Bachelor of Law’ by Sakhile Mhlongo

  • The artwork is on the East facing façade of Six Durban Club Place with sight-lines up Anton Lembede (formerly Smith) Street and was commissioned by Urban Lime Properties.
  • Six Durban Club Place exclusively houses legal professionals and is the home of the KZN Bar Council.
  • Durban Club Place and the surrounding buildings are part of a restoration and refurbishment project to create a legal and professional quarter by urban-regeneration specialists Urban Lime, supported by eThekwini Municipality.
  • The original commissioned artwork is oil on canvas and measures just 110cm x 35cm.
  • The final canvas measures a massive 13,422m by 43,040, that’s just under 600sqm.
  • The massive canvas weighs over 400kg.
  • It is the largest known piece of privately funded public art in KZN.
  • The artist, Sakhile Mhlongo is an established artist born in 1984 in Empangeni South Africa.
  • The installation was completed by local Durban company Brand Iron.
  • The background of the artwork photographic replication of the iconic ceramic screen which adorns the adjacent, Durban Club Chambers former Nedbank Building – built by renowned architect, Sir Norman Eaton.
  • Durban Club Place, the Professional Quarter will launch in the first quarter of 2018.
  • There is a public event hosted by Future Durban at 6pm on Wednesday 1st February 2017 which will feature a range of international speakers on the subject of public art followed by an open discussion on the subject ‘How can public-art help drive inner-city regeneration?’ RSVP at www.FutureDurban.co.za

How can public art help drive inner-city regeneration


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