Handmade Elephants
Photo Credit: Supplied

In Pietermaritzburg, 185 handmade elephants made their way to City Hall, and not to raise their trunks in politics. Together, these knitted and sewn ellies symbolise a message of soft strength for the City’s future:


Pietermaritzburg, South Africa (12 December 2023) — Earlier this month, a herd of soft and colourful handmade elephants found their new home in the City Hall of Pietermaritzburg. While the elephants won’t be getting into politics anytime soon, they signify something most politicians should—gentle notes of hope and strength for the future.

185 elephants had been knitted or sewed with love from people all over the city and country in honour of Pietermaritzburg’s 185th anniversary. As ‘the place of the elephant’ (PMB is also known as Umgungundlovu); this community-led gift was made with both creativity and compassion.

Presented by Lara Edmonds, the Executive Director of the Keep Pietermaritzburg Clean Association (KPCA) whose mission is in their name, the gift would be shared with the ladies who work at the City Hall.

It’s a heartfelt open letter sharing that “the idea was to celebrate our city…and to knit our community together with love.”

“KPCA was thrilled to receive elephants from all over SA, and has developed a unique Anniversary Campaign and an ‘Ellie Trail’, to remind residents of who we are and who we can be.”

“The City Hall is our beloved community hall, and like the elephant, it is a significant historic symbol. When we walk into her inner chamber, we still hear the echo of the voices of President Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

“This is the building that brings us together – where the orchestra plays on, and where the Youth Choir makes our heart swell with hope.  Elephants are featured throughout the City Hall, embedded in the floor of the entrance hall, embossed on glass doors, and even incorporated into stain glass windows. But more importantly for KPCA and our followers, the elephant has come to symbolise community and our united strength and power to affect change.”

The handmade elephants will make their way to children in Pietermaritzburg Clinics, where they will no doubt provide the hope that soft animal companions often do. Beyond this, the knitted activism is symbolic of the hope a community has for the City’s future.

Sources: Supplied 
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Ashleigh Nefdt is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Ashleigh's favourite stories have always seen the hidden hero (without the cape) come to the rescue. As a journalist, her labour of love is finding those everyday heroes and spotlighting their spark - especially those empowering women, social upliftment movers, sustainability shakers and creatives with hearts of gold. When she's not working on a story, she's dedicated to her canvas or appreciating Mother Nature.

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