By Danica Hansen
DURBAN – Durban Harbour will bid bon voyage to the ‘Lady in White,’ at sculptor, Barbara Siedle’s request to make the statue accessible to the public.
The statue is named after Durban-born soprano singer, Perla Siedle Gibson, famed as the ‘Lady in White,’ for serenading thousands of Allied Troops as they passed through the harbour. A source revealed that the sculptor and niece of the ‘Lady in White,’ Barbara Siedle, made enquiries to have the statue relocated since its situation in a restricted area prevented public access. The statue had been located outside Transnet National Ports Authority’s (TNPA) main administration building since it was commissioned in 1995 by Queen Elizabeth II.
The ‘Lady in White’ is said to find a new home and while North Pier and The Maritime Museum were considered as options for relocation of the statue, Siedle, together with the Friends of the Maritime Museum and the Local History Museum Trust, settled on the Maritime Museum since North Pier is earmarked for further port development including a new cruise passenger terminal. “It will be some time before TNPA completes any further development at the North Pier since the tender process for the new passenger terminal is still underway,” said Neth.
“The statue is being temporarily relocated to allow Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) to complete their construction project and extension of the harbour,” said eThekwini municipality Head of Communications, Tozi Mthethwa. City Head of Parks, Recreation and Culture Thembinkosi Ngcobo said there was a council resolution to keep the statue at the museum during harbour renovations, explaining that the harbour operators had applied for the temporary removal of the statue. “The statue’s temporary relocation will ensure unlimited access to it by Museum patrons,” said Ngcobo who added that the statue would be fitting at the Museum.