Today, despite wind and rain, thousands of Capetonians watched from almost every available spot as the two towers in Athlone were demolished. These have been a Cape landmark for 50 years.They have been nicknamed the "two old ladies". I remember calling them the salt and peeper pots as kids and my children have called them the stinky towers as there is usually a bad smell in the area due to a nearby sewerage works.
The best story relating to the towers comes from my student days. A good friend and I were on the balcony of our new residence at Mowbray Maternity. She was thrilled that she could see the "yachts in the harbour at the Waterfront" from her balcony! I laughed so much as it was none other than the towers that were lit up at night. She was sad to hear of "her harbour and yachts" being demolished today, some 20 plus years later!
We had braved the traffic and arrived at the perfect view point , some 400m from the towers. There was an announcement that the demolition would take place in four minutes. I thought I had better get my camera ready and all of a sudden there were shrieks of excitement and delight as Capetonians bid the two old ladies a sentimental farewell. It happened so fast!
Apparently the Mayor had pressed the button too soon. In just 30 seconds, the two 88 metre tall structures and 21 600 tons of concrete came down. It was not nearly as loud as I had thought it would be.
Like a house of cards, they came tumbling down to the earth.The one imploded faster than the other and there was a spectacular explosion of dust and debris. I sure was glad that I didn't live nearby as I cannot imagine trying to clean up afterwards!
Where once there were two massive concrete structures which for decades formed part of Cape Town’s skyline, there was nothing but massive piles of rubble.