KaiKai is the Nama word for "to cultivate, to elevate with praise or to nurture with pride". It is the name that Jimmy du Toit has given to the residential coastal estate he is developing at Port Nolloth in the Richtersveld, South Africa.
At first glance, Port Nolloth seems to be an isolated, tired little coastal town surrounded by barren landscape but if you take a stroll down to the beach you will be astounded to see, rising up out of the sands, a Gaudi-esque mosaic wall that is about to put Port Nolloth on the map. It is called The Wall of Expression. See more amazing photographs, here.
Jimmy du Toit had the bright idea of involving the community in the creation of the boundary wall between Kaikai and the rural surrounds. It is not a solid wall but rather a series of installations and collumns intersperced with open spaces.
The art of mosaic has been taught to members of the community and at the moment there are more than 65 people permanantly employed on site. For most, finding artistic expression in mosaic, is a new experience and at the end of the 5 to 10 years that it should take to complete the housing estate, the artisans will be fully trained and quite able to work independently.
I found this photograph on the blog Missing Voyage
The names of the people living in the area are spelt out on the wall of honour. 1500 Names to date and many more to go before the anticipated 12000 is reached.
When I was telling my husband about this project, he said..."Port Nolloth? Thats the back end of nowhere".
Jimmy du Toit remarked that "Port Nolloth is a place that's hard to like at first and then hard not to love."
I love the cubes going out to sea.
Paula wondered how the cubes were not washed out to sea and today the developers wife, Annelize du Toit added her comment.
"I have especially been enjoying everybody's facination with the mosaic cubes on the beach and am not sure whether I should give it all away.
Jimmy set it up as a temporary interactive art installation on 24 October 2009 between the low and high water marks on a beach area protected by a ridge and thus having fairly mild wave action. Even so, more and more cubes are thrown over by every high tide. Interestingly enough they remain in the grid formation and do not get scattered around.
The cubes have since been removed after being used for a similar beach installation between christmas and new year. They are now in storage until next time..."
Thanks so much for adding your comment, Annelize.
The blog Missing Voyage (below) will give you a broader view of Port Nolloth.
You might also find the archaeological assessment of the area interesting.
Photos from http://www.kaikai.co.za/