Spekboom labyrinth temporarily constructed on Die Braak, in the heart of Stellenbosch, for #GardenWeek.

Written by on 6 Oct 2021

Cape Town – The largest labyrinth in Africa is being built in Stellenbosch to remind society of its carbon footprint and the impact carbon emissions are having on the environment.

The 13 circuit labyrinth is the largest in the world to be made with spekboom trees.

The project manager and designer of the labyrinth, Terry De Fries, said: “The spekboom tree is an indigenous succulent plant. It’s one of the only plants that release oxygen into the atmosphere during the day and night. The labyrinth is made of this particular tree will help play a role in the neutralising of the carbon footprint.”

Chief executive of the Heart Capital and founder of the Great Labyrinth Project Peter Shrimpton said the idea of creating a labyrinth had occurred to him as he connected the relationship of the spekboom tree with carbon reduction. “If we don’t regress carbon emissions by 2025, we’ll go past the tipping point and all of humanity will face extinction,” he said.

Some 511 million tons of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere each year in South Africa; 9.18 tons of carbon emissions per person are released from vehicles alone.

The Great Labyrinth of Africa will be built at the Stellenbosch Bridge Smart City development and will have a similar design to the labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral in France. It will take four months and be visible from far above, being 220 metres in diameter.

The spekboom is known to be 10 times more effective in reducing carbon compared to tropical rainforest trees.

One mature spekboom can remove 8.5kg of CO2 a year, and 164000 have been planted for the labyrinth by previously disadvantaged people in an entrepreneurship programme.

The chief executive at Stellenbosch Bridge Smart City and the head of strategy and innovation at Pam Golding Properties are partners and sponsors of the project.

Premier Alan Winde said: “The labyrinth will allow us to focus on the effect each of our own footprints is having on the planet.”

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