Meet Fred Du Preez, the artist behind the mysterious floating Black River statue

Art director Fred Du Preez is responsible for creating the mysterious floating statue on the Black River which has captured the curiosity of Capetonians for years.

The statue named Hope has resurfaced in the river once again with a brand-new, eco-friendly floating base.

The Hope statue has become a well-recognised art installation floating in the waterway near the N2 interchange. Image: Plastics SA

The Hope statue has appeared, disappeared, and reappeared over the past decade, in different guises, made of different materials.

Plumstead resident Fred du Preez started creating the first iteration of the statue 11 years ago after purchasing some old boats at a small fishing village on the West Coast.

His first statue was dubbed the “Grim Reaper boat” by residents because of the eerie appearance of a hooded figure sitting inside the boat.

Du Preez, who is an art director for a film studio, says he felt it was time to demystify the statue which has left some Cape Town residents puzzled over the years.

He says the statue was created to raise awareness about the pollution and poor water quality of the urban river.

“It’s basically a sewer or a rubbish dump with water on top of it”, Du Preez laments.

The artist has now partnered with Plastics SA and Envirolite Concrete to make a solid base for the statue using recycled polystyrene which has been mixed with a special cement aggregate.

The use of recycled elements in the new statue is meant to communicate the importance of environmental sustainability and keeping plastic pollution out of the environment.

Du Preez says he hopes to create a new statue in collaboration with a sculptor before the end of the year.