iThemba Tower is a community art project which began 3 years ago, and islocated at the Spaza garden in Troyeville, Johannesburg. This 20 meter-high permanent art installation was made with over 7000 recycled plastic bottles, on a redundant communication tower. Each bottle contains a message from the community, as well as a light which flickers in the evening.
iThemba means hope in isiZulu, and at the start of the project the intention was to propel hope, fuel prosperity, educate the community and change perceptions.
In addition to collecting the bottles, workshops were facilitated at schools around the community, which taught the children about the necessity of recycling while simultaneously offering the waste recyclers a voice and an opportunity change the perception of informal waste collection. Each of the children who attended the workshops were asked to write a letter centered on spreading light and hope – ithemba. Six hundred messages were collected from the children as well as from the online community which came together as a result of the initiative.