Great Hall columns to memorialise counsel members

The Great Hall at Wits University, soon to have new support columns.

The Great Hall at Wits University, soon to have new support columns. Photo: File, 2010.













A controversial campaign to rebuild the support columns of the iconic Wits Great Hall to depict members of Wits University Counsel was approved by the Wits Senior Executive Team (SET), today.
The executive team at Wits who manage spatial planning and project development on campus have announced that the project will be undertaken by the construction and development committee to transform the columns of the Great Hall into sculptures depicting members of the University Counsel.

Vice-Chancellor, Prof Adam Habib said; “As new Vice Chancellor to the university I have hopped on board with the plans to rebuild the columns. I think the fact that members of counsel will be used as part of the structure represents a philosophic idea, as they hold up the heavy weight of the ceiling, they too, hold the heavy weight of governing the university and making sure its name is held high.”

The new project was inspired by the ancient Greek architecture of The Erechtheion, an temple in the north of Athens that was build roughly around 421 BC.

Project manager, Nigel Branken said:  “The part of the temple we will be focusing on is ‘The Porch of the Caryatids’, meaning “Porch of Maidens.” The porch has six draped female figures as support columns for the roof of the temple. These six females are iconic impressions of the Greek deity, Athena, Goddess of war and tactics.”


220px-Caryatids_on_the_south_porch_of_the_ErechtheionThe 8 columns of the Great Hall will depict Vice Chancellor Prof Adam Hibib; Vice Principle Prof Yunus Ballim;  Professor P Fitzgerald; Dr Randall Carolissen; Dr John Kani; Dean of Faculties Professor Andrew Crouch; Dr S Moon and Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande, said executive team director, Emmannuel Prinsloo.


The university’s new construction project will be funded by a number of private funding sources as well as by the department of Higher Education and Training, where Minister Blade Nzimande agreed to the project under the condition that his figure would be one of those serving as supports for the Great Hall.


Cost manager, Sieberhagen Heynes says the project will cost approximately R68 million to complete and should be finished sometime around June 2014.  Heynes emphasised that local artisans would be used.

The Wits SRC have openly opposed the project citing the ‘inappropriate expenditure of valuable resources.’ They encourage staff and students opposed to this project and April Fools’ jokes in general, to make their voices heard.