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Monday, December 5, 2016


(Katz Pillay & Herbie Gowie from Magic Lighting work on the tree)

A larger than life 12.5m high custom-made Christmas tree will be displayed at uShaka Marine World for the public to enjoy up until Christmas. The tree, initiated by The SPAR Group, has been 100% designed, manufactured and assembled in Durban.

Project Manager Karen Haynes, on behalf of SPAR, has roped in the city’s best to assist. “We are delighted that SPAR is making such a magnanimous gesture. We are thrilled to be part of such an affirming project,” says Haynes.

The metal-based tree has been designed and assembled by Nevon Singh and his team from Magic Lighting in Montclair, south of Durban, using locally-made components and lights.

In the region of 74,000 LED bulbs and 2,000 metres of cabling went into the tree. 15 staff members spent approximately 4,158 labour hours making the custom-made structure and components.

“Our idea was to custom-make the largest Christmas tree Durban has ever seen,” said Mike Prentice, SPAR Group Marketing Director. “We wanted the tree to be 100% made in South Africa and lit by a multitude of LED lights – all locally designed and manufactured. We want to revisit the nostalgia of Christmas and create a beautiful and iconic statement in a public place which can be enjoyed by both residents and visitors.”

The idea was inspired by the vast Christmas decorations in Rockefeller Centre in New York, the gigantic fibre-optic tree which adorns Sydney; whimsical decorations in Vienna and olde-style department store windows. Nothing quite similar exists in this country yet. It will look magical – like something straight out of a children’s story book.

Displayed alongside the tree will be an array of fantasy sea creatures made by Robin Opperman, Ujala Sewpersad and their team from Umcebo Design. They are making 14 huge mixed media fish, two enormous jelly-fish and five starfish using coke/milk bottles, Bonnox mesh and bottletops.

“We are playing to the paradox that the tree will be decorated by fish made completely from recycled and found materials – using the very objects which play a role in destroying our marine biodiversity, to send out a message of the importance of recycling and reusing,” considers Robin Opperman from Umcebo. 

uShaka Marine World is a popular destination over the year-end holidays with their busy programme of themed seasonal activities – including their much anticipated Dolphins by Starlight