Every so often, we are asked about the significance of the dragonfly on our logo. Why, a dragonfly, people enquire thoughtfully. More so, now, that we have beautifully hand-crafted sculptures of these exquisite creatures at our entrances, charmingly welcoming residents, guests and visitors home. In this piece, we find out more about the history of our dragonfly and the hometown glory of our sculptures.
Some might recall the original Simbithi logo, when our Estate launched 18 years ago, comprised four elements: a sun, seashell, dragonfly and a tree, each representing the different natural elements of Simbithi. In 2014, the logo was redesigned and the dragonfly was retained, representing the natural waterways, dams and conservation areas.
The dragonfly has come to mean much more to us, personally, symbolising strength, freedom and resilience.
So, it was only fitting that we brought our emblem to life during the recent revamping of our entrances. You might have noticed the new sculptures, but did you know they were handmade by local craftsmen and women? When the idea of including the sculptures in the gate revamps was first touted, Environmental Manager Ayanda Duma knew precisely who would be up to the task: the skilled gents of Metal & Stone Sculptures, who have their impressive array of products on display along the P445 (Ballito Drive). “I drove this way every day on the school run with my sun, so I would see their sculptures every morning. I knew they’d be up to the task of making our dragonflies,” she says. “Once we agreed to engage with them, I brought approximate measurements through, so the dragonfly would ‘fly’ over each pond at the gates. They made a sample, which instantly impressed me.”
Business owner Lazarus Kufakunesu said once the sample-sized dragonfly had been approved, the sculptures were then handmade to specifications at their main workshop in Assagay, Hillcrest. “Teamwork is very important to us. We had three people work on each dragonfly at a time, and it took about a week to make each sculpture,” he shares. “First, we took Ayanda’s measurements and sketched an outline on the ground so we could get the proportions correct.”
The sculptures were crafted with mild steel, Lazarus says, from large oil drums. “We recycle them and turn them into art.” The team’s first step was to separate the segments of the dragonfly’s body with the 4mm wire. “When we were happy with that, we used a guillotine to cut the mild steel according to the shaped pieces we needed. Then, we shaped those cut pieces and welded them together using a ball hammer. Then, the sculpture begins to really take shape.”
The wings were constructed using 8mm and 6mm wire, thick and malleable enough to build and obtain the correct proportions. A steel bender machine is used to construct the stand, bent just right to the dragonfly looks as though it is in flight. “When all is done, we use outdoor varnish with a high-pressure, compressor and gun so the varnish goes all over, and inside, the dragonfly.”
Lazarus is honoured to have his work now displayed at the Main, South and Ballito Gates, with commissions for the remaining gates in the pipeline. “As a team, we feel appreciated and recognised and want to thank Simbithi for recognising us.”
Lucky Samson, the affable salesman on site in Ballito, smiles when the range of miniature dragonflies on display is pointed out. “Yes, we have been inspired by Simbithi. I have not had the chance to see our work there, yet, but I know I will not be surprised by how beautiful they must look. I know what our team is capable of doing.”