Cape Town architect and urban designer, Dr Luyanda Mpahlwa was inaugurated as President of the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) at an event held at the end of last at the Radisson Red Hotel in the V&A Waterfront, a building designed by his architectural firm, Design Space Africa, in association with Peerutin Architects. He accepted the chain of office from outgoing President Maryke Cronje.
In a moving acceptance speech Mpahlwa told of his pursuit of architecture against all odds, including a period of incarceration as a political prisoner on Robben Island and exile in Germany where he completed his studies, going on to become one of the first black architects in the country. The incoming president reflected on his 40 years involvement with architecture, and the challenges the country faced during apartheid, where the access to architecture and engineering careers was previously determined on racial grounds.
He rallied the gathered architecture community to acknowledge the challenges the profession faces and pledged to use his term in office to work hard at rebuilding the respect the profession deserves and encourage interest among young professionals. Mpahlwa said, ‘The architectural profession needs to be regarded as a key player within the built environment professions and architects need to play their role in reshaping the spatial dynamics of our country and our built environment in general’.
Further appointments were announced with the inauguration of Treasurer Jan Ras as well as Vice President Kate Otten and Cecilia van Rensburg as Deputy Treasurer.
The Inauguration was attended by a wide range of guests from the public and private sector and fraternal organisations. Speakers included Victor Miguel, President of Africa Union of Architects (AUA), Priscilla Mdlalose, CEO of the Council for Built Environment (CBE), Letsabisa Shongwe, President of South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP), Vusumuzi Nondo, Development Manager of the evening’s host and sponsor V&A Waterfront and Musa Shangase representing Corobrik, a long standing SAIA sponsors, who all voiced their ongoing support for SAIA and the South African architecture community at the event.
SAIA wishes to acknowledge the generous sponsorship received from the V&A Waterfront, Corobrik, and Gearhouse SA. Guests were entertained with a special performance by Zolani Mahola of Freshly Ground accompanied by David Watkyns, as well as a performance by reggae band The Rivertones.
The President’s Inauguration was the highlight of SAIA’s Architecture Week, a week of architectural celebrations in Cape Town including Architectural Open Studios, the Cape Institute for Architecture’s annual street party, and SAIA Convention.