If you take a drive through Sedgefield, you will immediately notice the abundance of mosaics peppered throughout the town.
Tortoises, hearts, guinea fowl and giant fish are just some of the mosaic features which you will encounter around town. All these unique pieces have been skillfully crafted by members of The Sedgefield Community Mosaic Project, a skills development and upliftment project which was launched back in 2008 by much-loved local NGO Masithandane (meaning “Let us love one another”).
The project was the brainchild of Di Young. Her vision was to pass on the knowledge of this ancient art form so that disadvantaged community members could uplift themselves by generating an income from mosaic projects. Local community members were initially trained to do practical mosaic work by Margie Ford, one of the Garden Route’s best-known mosaic artists. At a later stage, mosaic crafters were given the opportunity to attend business training through both the CCDI (Cape Craft Development Institute) and Tsiba College.
Making Sedgefield the mosaic capital of South Africa
Over the years the project has gone from strength to strength and the artists have enjoyed much success with both private, corporate, and municipal commissions. Sedgefield is now synonymous with mosaics and is vibrantly adorned with an eclectic collection of nearly 50 public mosaic artworks. In 2013, Masithandane submitted a proposal for funding to the National Lotteries Commission for the development of a marine-themed Mosaic Park in Sedgefield. Funding was approved and work for this ambitious project commenced in January 2016. It is called “The Octopus Garden under the Sea” (reference to the old Beatles classic) and is built on a portion of private land that is part of the Scarab Market. Various mosaic sculptures were designed by Petricia Pieterse and created alongside the giant octopus, including a dolphin and an Orca. Other famous mosaics include “Slow”, “Citta” and “Skillie”, three beautiful tortoise sculptures that celebrate Sedgefield’s pledge to remain a slow, community-oriented village.
Next to the local Post Office you will find the “The Family” (commissioned by the Knysna Municipality), a mosaic and recycled metal sculpture comprising a man, a woman, a child and a dog, symbolising the family values upheld by the Sedgefield community and the town’s Citta Slow status. Not far from this at the Community Hall is the “Moth War Memorial”, depicting our fallen heroes and the Fields of Flanders. Make your way to the Swartvlei River mouth and you will see the large fish mosaic that is positioned atone of the best viewpoints in Sedgefield.
Fostering community spirit
Mosaics are a metaphor for life: that the trials and tribulations, joys and hardships combine to create a one-of-a-kind mosaic we call “life”. Sedgefield’s humble mosaic venture can most certainly be equated to this – that countless ordinary pieces have been glued together with a lot of love and passion to create something extraordinary – testimony to Sedgefield’s unwavering community spirit.