#ArchForArch 5: Bishop Margaret Vertue on Desmond Tutu and the true role of the church in South Africa

The anglican priest shares with us her thoughts on the Arch’s legacy in the 5th episode of our series on the Arch for Arch project.

An architectural tribute to the work of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Arch for Arch serves to honour and commemorate his impact on our country. In this series, we look at the people and the places that have significantly influenced his life and legacy. 

In this episode, we talk to a prominent figure in the church, Bishop Margaret Vertue. Ordained as one of the first woman priests in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa in 1992 and only the second woman to be elected an Anglican Bishop, her story represents the kind of equality that Tutu has fought his entire life for.

Ordained into the priesthood by Tutu himself, Vertue opens up to us about what she believes the church’s true role in society ought to be and Tutu’s firm reputation for speaking truth to power.

Created by Craig Dykers – co-founder of Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta – with support from Johannesburg-based architect Thomas Chapman of Local Studio., the Arch for Arch project was completed with the generosity of Design Indaba sponsor Liberty.

Consisting of 14 arched beams of wood, each of which represents a line from the South African Constitution’s preamble, the Arch serves as a reminder of the founding principles on which the country is built and as a monument to Tutu’s lifelong fight for equality for all.

Installed near St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town and launched on 7 October 2017 to coincide with Tutu’s 86th birthday, a second, smaller version will be installed at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg on 10 December 2017 to coincide with the 21st anniversary of the South African Constitution.

To learn more about this remarkable project, catch up on episodes one, two, three and four of the #ArchForArch series.