Recycled whale artwork finds a home at Central Beach in Plett 

whale sculpture central beach
Published: June 12th, 2021

Recycled whale artwork finds a home at Central Beach in Plettenberg Bay

The first Plettenberg Bay Recycling Art installation, started by Plett residents and former guesthouse owners, Fran and Dermot Molloy, has found a home at the popular Central Beach! 

Two years ago, the Molloys spotted a similar ‘Goby Fish’ from Bali on social media, and this sparked their interest – “how can we copy this for Plett”?  The objective behind the recycling project provides an interesting perspective to keeping our beaches clean and includes a strong message for us all to recycle. The idea is to create awareness about recycling and inspires us to protect our marine life and keep our beaches clean.

With the recent recognition of Plett as Africa’s Leading Beach Destination with the World Travel Awards, the timing is perfect. In addition to creating awareness about recycling and sustainable environmental practices, the art installation also adds new interest and a fresh perspective on art in the area.

“We love the innovation behind this project and are completely thrilled that the community has come together to make this happen. We are in the midst of a very difficult time for the hospitality industry and our local economy has taken strain. Putting this beautiful new art installation at the heart of the hospitality industry will enhance the beachfront and hopefully inspire us to look beyond what we believe to be possible and imagine a more vibrant and environmentally friendly world-class beach destination,” says Patty Butterworth (CEO, Plett Tourism).

Fran has been working with Alison Bryant from the Keep Plett Clean campaign to make this idea a reality. Natures Valley Trust (then headed up by Mark Brown) believed in the project and facilitated a grant through the Table Mountain Fund to get the ball rolling. They approached local artist and Fisanthoek Brewery owner, Derek Saul, with their concept, and he came up with an exciting initial design of a breaching humpback whale.

Fran engaged with key stakeholders who agreed to sponsor this project and worked hard to raise the necessary funds.  The key stakeholders include Natures Valley Trust, Ocean Blue Adventures, Moby Dick’s Restaurant, Sotheby’s International Realty Plett, Crush Surf, Wine Roots, Fisanthoek Brewery, The Plettenberg Hotel, Health & Fitness Plett, Signtec, Stargate, Grand Africa and numerous anonymous donors.

The Bitou Municipality built the base of the installation, which will be covered by local mosaic artists during the upcoming Plett ARTS Festival in July. “A special thank you to Bitou Municipal representatives, which includes Councilor Dave Swart, Johnny Prins, Douglas Baartman and former employee Mark Fourie.  We must not forget that many locals also made generous, smaller donations towards this project.  Thank you to everyone for your donations, big or small – you know who you are!!” says Fran Molloy.

She also adds, “Shortly after the project started, the Coronavirus pandemic arrived and we all went into lockdown. This did not stop all parties involved, and they picked up the momentum in late 2020 as lockdown restrictions were eased. We are happy to say that this proudly Plett project has come to fruition and has been installed at Central Beach. It has been made using recycled metal, steel, confiscated fishing nets, lobster traps etc., and has been transformed into a giant sculpture of a breaching whale by Derek through blood, sweat, tears and total passion.”

The Plett artwork has been strategically placed at Central Beach to create awareness and to also create a focal point for one of Plett’s most popular beaches.  “Feed Me and Not the Sea” is the slogan. The whale recycling project will form a part of the Plett ARTS Festival, which will take place this year from 10-20 July 2021.


Watch the Facebook LIVE Feed of the unveiling ceremony here:

Natures Valley Trust will be running a competition to help find a special name for this magnificent whale sculpture in Plett – so watch this space!

Plastic recycling is an extremely important issue, as plastics make up a huge amount of solid waste, which will take hundreds of years to break down in a landfill.  The community of Bitou / Plettenberg Bay is passionate about recycling and maintaining its reputation as a clean, safe, and friendly town.