- Year: 2015
- Consultants: Rudi Keudel-Schaffer, Bruce Plumbly, Wolfgang Steiner, Nonhle Mbuthuma, Felicity Swanepoel
- Main Sponsors: Friedrich Bauer, Gunter Weisbrod, Birgit Werner, Bank Austria, Pfeifer Seil und Hebetechnik, GEA, Teufelberger, ATE, Haslinger Stahlbau, HSG, Nuquip, Land Kärnten, Land Salzburg, Land Niederösterreich
- Supporters: Mbizana Local Municipality, Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, UNESCO
- Community Steering Committee: Nonhle Mbuthuma, Mashono Dlamini, Nkhulwani Mnyamane, Macube Mathembu, Mavis Dlamini, Thandazile Gampe, Sajini Dlamini, Stera Ndovela, Mdumiseni Dlamini, Madoyisi Dimane, Ntlahla Hlebo, Portia Ogle, Xolani Zindela, Simon Nzimakhwe, Nhindelwa Dlamini
- Construction Team: Melan Juta, Pakhamini Ngeleka, Siyabonga Khuzwayo, Siyabonga Mxunjini, Aiysha Dlamini, Khona Gampe, Ntombizethu Mnyamana, Ntobeko Dlamini, Zenzile Chiya, Andile Dlamini, Siphiwe Dlamini, Ntomsetu Dlamini, Monde Mdunyelwa, Mjo Bhele, Mbongeni Dlamini, Xolani Mnyamana, Lizwe Dlamini, Yandisa Dlamini, Sithole Dlamini, Mthokozizi Ndlovu, Moses Mbuthuma, Richman Ntuli, David Mbuthuma, Lonwabo Dlamini, Abraham Ngeleka, Jesko von Jeney, Virginia Clasen, Sebastian Schweinberger, Christoph Jach, Laura Stock, Lukas Hofbauer, Anna Weisbrod, Hadrien Clair, Valentin Kandler, Tobias Lackner, Simon Spenrath, Günther Egger, Reinhard Stundner
- City: Transkei District
- Country: South Africa
Text description provided by the architects. The community driven project ´bridgingMzamba` originated in the urgent need of and request by surrounding inhabitants for a safe crossing of the Mzamba River and included design and implementation of a 140 Meter long suspension bridge in a collaborative manner.
As Nonhle Mbuthuma, chairperson of the Community Committee points out: “Our community is used to not getting anything from government but in contrast to other places we are not burning cars or riot. We rather reach out and try to find new ways because we know government is not able to provide service for all. We can meet them half way to provide infrastructure.”
The Austria based NPO build Collective teamed up with two thesis students of the Carinthia University of Applied Science for the design and planning phase.
A Steering Committee representing the local community and client guided the process and carried on negotiations with necessary entities. The driving force of tribal authority, ward committee and local stakeholders ensured a successful public participation and sustainable development.
Further support and authorisation could be established in liaison with engineers from South Africa and Switzerland (Dr. Lüchinger+Meyer), environmental experts, the Mbizana Municipality and Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development Environmental Affairs and Tourism to ensure technical accuracy and compliance.
Through this collective approach with users, students and experts the production of knowledge, cultural exchange, skills development and responsibility is achieved for all participants.
The design process had been very much guided by the information, data and meetings sourced on site and outcome sent to Austria.
The general geometry of the bridge was developed at the CUAS in collaboration with engineers from Dr. Lüchinger+Meyer for the top structure and adopted in action with new findings on site.
Main parameters were the reduction of material, a hardly accessible construction site, self-building process with community members, low maintenance, adaption with the natural landscape and of course span-width and forces of wind and usability.
Foundations were calculated according to necessary force of connections and the diverse ground conditions of rock, swamp and sandy earth. In 3D Models geometry was developed, presented to the local community and adapted.
Continuous feedback from user, engineers and the construction process itself guided the design with fine-tuning of details until completion.
Span-width between Pylons is 66 meters with the southern Pylon of 15 meters grounded on pile foundation on the river bank and the northern pylon with 13,2 meter is grounded on a rock. 174 hangers connect the 133,85 meter carrying ropes with the two 131,9 meter guy ropes. The hangers are connected to 87 binders which carry 96 walkway-elements between a concrete bridgehead and a steel bridgehead.
Overall project costs of 200 000 Euros have been carried solely by sponsors, donations and personal contribution. In several phases of negotiations, fundraising, design and construction since 2012, this extraordinary infrastructure could be realized with October 2015 as a self-build project of community members and volunteers.
The Mzamba Bridge is now connecting residents of a catchment area of 30km to necessary infrastructure such as educational facilities, health care, jobs and general food supply. Further it serves as a landmark and potential tourist attraction in the area to enable socio-economic development.