Durban’s not big on landmarks; we’ve got the sea, you see, and um, until recently, that was about our most noteworthy physical feature. Now we’ve got the Mabhida Moses. The tired old soccer stadium opposite Kings Park was flattened to make way for our 2010 FIFA World Cup stadium which will hold 70 000 soccer fans during the big event.
This marvel of modern design and construction, named after the former general secretary of the SA Communist Party, Moses Mabhida, boasts, as its crowning glory, a massive arch with a funicular – not to be confused with a cable car – which will carry visitors up to a platform at the top of the arch for panoramic views of the city and sea.
For now what I’m loving about the stadium is how its changing our views, literally. It pops up all over the place: take the dogs for a walk around Greyville Racecourse and, voila! – there it is to the north. Visit a friend at her Morningside home and there’s the Moses Mabhida, beyond her kitchen window. My favourite view of it is from Innes Road, which is just the right distance from which to appreciate its scale and design, as well its dramatic impact on that part of the city.
At night , its now-complete Teflon-coated, glass-fibre membrane roof is lit up in a translucent glow, making even the most cynical Durbanite feel warm, fuzzy, and yes, proud.
As I write this, the pitch – grass grown in the Ballito area – is being laid. The municipality keeps telling us that the stadium belongs to all of us and that it will be very accessible once it’s opened in November. Wonder if I’ll be able to kick my slops off and feel that grass beneath my feet?