For Immediate Release
29 June 2016
Relocation of Lady in White Statue
EThekwini Council has approved the temporary relocation of the ‘Lady in White’ statue from the harbour to the Port Natal Maritime Museum.
The statue has been located in a restricted area of the port, outside Transnet National Ports Authority’s Ocean Terminal Building, since it was commissioned in 1995. The move will enable the public to view it more freely. The relocation is also in line with the sculptors wishes.
The statue will be housed alongside other historical maritime artefacts at the Port Natal Maritime Museum. It is possible that the statue may be relocated again in a few years to the North Pier, which Transnet National Ports Authority has earmarked for tourism development which includes a new passenger terminal.
The costs of the move, will all be incurred and covered by private agencies associated with the Portuguese community in Durban as well as the Local History Museum Trust.
The statue is named after Perla Siedle Gibson, who was a Durban born soprano artist. Gibson became famous as the 'Lady in White' because she used to serenade thousands of Allied troops as their ships passed in and out of Durban harbour.
In 1972, a year after she died, a bronze plaque donated by men of the Royal Navy was erected in her memory on Durban's North Pier on the spot where she used to sing. In 1995 Queen Elizabeth II unveiled a statue of Gibson near the Ocean Terminal in Durban harbour.
The City’s Head of Parks, Recreation and Culture Thembinkosi Ngcobo said the statue would be fitting at the Museum next to Britannia Room because it is still in the harbour precinct, not far from where she used to sing. “The statue’s temporary relocation will ensure unlimited access to it by Museum patrons,” he said.
Issued by the eThekwini Municipality Head of Communications Unit, Tozi Mthethwa.
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