Visit Knysna, Knysna Tourism, Garden Route, South Africa

One-of-a-kind sculpture to welcome visitors to Knysna’s Judah Square

Following months of hard work, planning and preparations, a towering 2.2m likeness of Hailie Selassie now stands proud on the mount at Judah Square, Knysna – home to the biggest community of Rastafari in Southern Africa. Looking out over the township of Khayalethu, powerful hands posed in a diamond-like gesture, the traditional Rastafari symbol of the Seal of Solomon, the statue will welcome back visitors from far and wide.


A seahorse for Sedgefield!

It may be called the Knysna Seahorse, but Sedgefield is where you will now find the most impressive tribute to the tiny creature that makes the town’s estuaries its home. Today local NPO Masithandane unveiled their latest mosaic masterpiece at the foot of the dune beach-lovers climb to reach the magnificent Myoli Beach.

“Sedgefield, here at last is the seahorse you’ve been asking for!” Jacky Weaver, Chairperson of Masithandane, introduced their latest addition to the Sedgefield Mosaic Route as mosaic team leader Hyla Hartlief and Ward 1 Councillor Levael Davis removed the “wrapping”.

The towering 3 meter high installation comprises a giant sparkling mosaic statue of the Knysna Seahorse mounted on one of the original fishing boats used at Gericke’s Point, donated by Christopher Fredericks. Livelihoods depended on it for more than 40 years. The historically significant Gericke’s Point provides the distinctive, distant western backdrop to Myoli Beach.

The shimmering seahorse sculpture is Masithandane’s second contribution to the #KnysnaArtProject, a collaboration between Visit Knysna (the greater Knysna area’s destination marketing organisation), the Knysna Municipality and the Knysna Art Society. It is also the last installation in the official #KnysnaArtProject, the aim of which was to encourage visitors to branch out and explore some of the lesser known gems that the area has to offer by creating interactive outdoor artworks. These installations also now provided the basis for the Knysna Art Route which maps out all the galleries, artist studios, maker spaces and more that can be explored by art enthusiasts visiting the Greater Knysna area.

In August 2021, Masithandane unveiled the Sedgefield1 Love Bug – an original Volkswagen Beetle parked on the side of the Swartvlei River covered in brightly coloured mosaic renditions of the local fynbos and other flora unique to the area. With its open top and picture-perfect backdrop Sedgefield1 has proved to be as big a hit amongst residents of this small self-proclaimed “slow town” as it has amongst the travellers and tourists it was made for.

According to Jacky the idea for the seahorse came from the community, who have been asking for one ever since the Love Bug was unveiled. It was also at the launch of the Love Bug that Jacky first met Christopher Fredericks and heard the story of the fishing boat, which he then offered to donate to Masithandane for their next project. The Fredericks’ boat, hidden in his back yard for over a decade and beginning to decay, has now been given new life as the impressive base for the giant concrete seahorse.

The resin “starfish” steps up to the boat are also significant. They incorporate a number of metal sinkers, collected along the coastline as part of the Strandloper Project. Mark Dixon, founder of the Strandloper Project, approached Jacky with the idea of including sinkers in one of their installations to draw some attention to these environmental hazards.

Masithandane’s mosaics are not new to Sedgefield. The Mosaic Project began as a skills training and income generation initiative for unemployed men in 2008 and has been uplifting the town with public mosaic works ever since, many of them private commissions funded by the townspeople. In fact, whatever you do and wherever you go in Sedgefield, one thing is for certain – you will be enchanted by the vibrant mosaic art that has become such an integral and attractive part of its visual fabric. The Mosaic Art Route now includes more than sixty five wonderous mosaic works that are quite worthy of the 90-minutes it takes to complete a self-drive tour. Aside from the Sedgefield1 Love Bug, the route takes you past a number of other iconic sculptures worthy of a selfie pic or two – among them the Slow Papa Tortoise and Heartbeat of Sedgefield heart on the Main Rd, Marinara with its view of Gericke’s Point, and the interactive Octopus Garden at the Scarab Market on the outskirts of town.

Pleasure seekers now have more reasons than ever to stop along the N2 and spend some time in areas such as Sedgefield, Buffalo Bay, Brenton-on-Sea, Knysna and Concordia. In a world where selfies and that perfect Instagram moment is now the most popular way of sharing photos and experiences worldwide, the #KnysnaArtProject is encouraging visitors to Greater Knysna to branch out, explore and discover everything the area has to offer by creating a series of unique selfie opportunities. The initiative is an ambitious and exciting collaboration between Visit Knysna (the greater Knysna area’s destination marketing organisation), the Knysna Municipality and the Knysna Art Society and thus far includes the Sedgefield1 Love Bug, a 2.2m statue of a Rasta priest on the Mount at Judah square, the Buffalo Bay Boardwalk and the Brenton on Sea Wall of Wings.

Masithandane – the makers behind the mosaic route
Headed by Jacky Weaver, Masithandane provides vital services to the poorer community in Sedgefield. The vision was to provide community care for disadvantaged communities, care for the sick or terminally ill with the HUG Care and Respite Centre (House under Grace) and support for families and mothers and children.

A non-profit organisation (NPO), Masithandane has provided food security for thousands, catered for early childhood development and literacy, taught life skills to the members of the community and offered income earning opportunities over the years. During the hard Covid lockdown they delivered 1700 weekly food parcels for several months.

Masithandane is the conduit for 19 community kitchens and feeding schemes in Sedgefield, Karatara, Rheenendal, Knysna and Hornlee. Some 1900 meals are provided 5 days a week, while more than 100 people get healthy meals every day at the Centre.

In another section of the Centre, the laughter of children leads to the classroom or outdoor playground of Ikhaya Lentliziyo. The first principal came to Masithandane many years ago to follow her passion of looking after children, was unqualified, but now has formal qualifications and 32 children under her watchful eye.

Weaver points at a map in the Wellness Centre, of the area of the communities served and explains: “These are not just dots. Every single one represents a family. There are 1700 households in Smutsville, Slangepark and Sizamile with as many as eight people per household, many being helped by Masithandane,” says Weaver.

Masithandane derives its income from donations, fund-raising proposals and events and from mosaic interactive groups and tours.

For more information visit
or phone Jacky on 082 4142133

Knysna Art Society breathes life back into historic town centre

The #knysnaartproject has been back in action, this time bringing some colour and character to Knysna’s historic CBD with a new mural inspired by local author Dalene Matthee’s novel “Kringe in ‘n Bos”.

The canvas for the latest project was the back of the old Town Hall – a 25metre-long strip of wall that, in recent years, came to be known as the “Covid wall”. It was here that people spent hours queuing for their vaccinations during the pandemic.

Now the works of sixty artists have transformed this bleak space into one of hope and happiness. Created over the ten days of the recent Knysna Oyster Festival, the “Kringe in ‘n Bos” mural is a celebration of all that makes the Greater Knysna area so unique. Artists worked individually but alongside one another on circular artworks (“Kringe”) of their chosen iconically-Knysna subjects. From extreme close-ups of the endemic fauna and flora that can be found in the ancient forests to views of the estuary and all that brings life to its waters, each of the eighty-one artworks is a passion-infused personal tribute to a place that inspires at every turn.

“Dalene Matthee’s forest books illustrate just how enchanted she was by the Knysna forests and the surrounding areas. As artists living in Knysna we too seek much of our inspiration from the natural wonder that surrounds us in this very special place. We feel privileged to live and work here and the mural shows the rest of the world why,” said Helena Gerber, Chairperson of Knysna Arts Society.

The artwork is the latest installment in the #knysnaartproject, an ambitious and exciting collaboration between Visit Knysna (the greater Knysna area’s destination marketing organisation), the Knysna Municipality and the Knysna Arts Society. Five other public outdoor artworks have already been installed across the Greater Knysna area.

As it happens, this time the majority of the contributing artists were women – in fact, only six were men. “The Kringe in ‘n Bos mural was created as a tribute to a great woman who loved Knysna by a group of Knysna’s great women. So we are reminded once again of the powerful role of women in the past, present and future of our town. Wherever I look, I see women working as individuals, in teams, in organisations to create real change and improvement in the world we live in. It’s no wonder we celebrate them with Women’s Month,” said Councilor Sharon Sabbagh, MMC for Finance and Tourism at Knysna Municipality.

Executive Mayor of Knysna Lavael Davis spoke at the official launch on Tuesday 17 August 2022. “The Knysna Art Project has brought the winds of rejuvenation to our town. It’s contagious. Our residents are out on the streets getting involved in projects and initiatives that are having real impact and building back our identity as a destination. But, more importantly, working together we are being reminded of what it feels like to be part of a community with a positive attitude and a common goal.”