Hope is the thing with bottles?


iThemba Tower 2

It’s a disused Phone tower in downtown Johannesburg,stuffed with thousands of plastic bottles with LED lights in each.


Erna Buber-deVilliers writes: “Who would have imagined the thing of profound beauty that they could become? It seems as unlikely to happen as for a King to be born in a stable.”

The project is a collaboration between  a street artist known as “r1” and Isaac Thomas, a local homeless man who collects plastic bottles for a living.  The artist said: “I wanted Thomas to be able to give a new connotation to the junk he collects, and to his life which it represents. I wanted him to be proud of it.”

There are LED lights inside the bottles that turn the tower into a beacon at night, but the bottles contain something more. They contain the hopes and dreams of hundreds and hundreds of people in the form of words written on slips of paper, rolled up, and placed inside the bottles.

Faith expressed in prayers, and tiny evidences of hope.

Emily Dickinson:

‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—

And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—

I’ve heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.


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