You would undoubtedly have spotted the small standalone clock tower if you have ever driven down Beach Road or walked along the beach promenade in Strand. Erected in 1994 and designed by Danie Pienaar, this structure standing on the sand is inscribed with the name “Time for Peace”, and based on the the plaque, it was a gift to the Strand community from the Strand Rotary Anns, marked as being in memory of one Mavis Mitton.
So the question then is – who was Mavis Mitton?
Well thanks to some Internet digging, it turns out that Mavis Mitton (née Alexander) was one of Cape Town’s first beauty queens, having won the very first (unofficial) Miss South Africa beauty contest organised by The Argus newspaper. (Her friends entered her into the competition without her knowing about it, and this was one of those early newspaper beauty contests where the paper printed photos of all the contestants and the readers sent their vote in.)
According to all the reports, the Cape celebrated Mavis’ victory, a young twenty year old teacher from Montagu, in proper style.
A little while after that, she moved to the Strand and started teaching at the Somerset West Primary School, where she taught for 26 years. Following the death of her husband (shortly after they were married sadly), she became greatly involved in charity work and joined the Strand Methodist community.
After her passing in 1990, Mavis donated all her money to the Strand Rotary association.
In 1993, as the death throes of Apartheid was getting more and more violent with each passing day, one Ann Jacueline Lester argued the need for symbol calling for peace between all – and thus, with the help of the local Rotary Anns, the Strand’s “Time for Peace” clock tower came into being.
And that is that. So an interesting morsel of recent history for the next time you find yourself in the area then.
Related Link: Strand