Bloubergstrand’s 86 memorial benches help the grieving to remember their loved ones, say those who have come out in support of them after an anonymous post on the Bloubergstranders Facebook group said there were enough benches and people could instead plant trees in memory of the dead.
Sarah Elario, of Blouberg, said having a bench at the beachfront helped her connect with her late husband, Neil, who was killed in a motorcycle accident eight years ago.
“Neil and I used to love the beach. We would drive to different beaches all over the Cape and just sit there for hours. When I visit the beachfront in our area, I just go and sit on the bench memorialising him, and when I look into the distance, I can suddenly feel his presence.
“I feel like this helps many other people going through grief as well. I would encourage people to try and remember their loved ones in any way they can.”
Mayoral committee member for community services and health Patricia van der Ross said there were no plans to place more benches as there was no space.
“Additionally, there are no plans to remove any of these benches. The City will be more than happy to engage any individual or organisation that may have specific input with regards to this matter. It is believed that the benches are appreciated and well used by visitors to the beach.”
Those wishing to place a memorial plaque on one of the existing benches or make a suggestion about other ways to remember loved ones can email the recreation and parks department at RP.firstname.lastname@example.org.
“All memorial benches are paid for by the applicant and are installed at an approved location in accordance with the protocol, if space is available, and as stipulated by the City,” said Eddie Andrews, mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment.