In early spring of 1994, the 1820 Settlers Monument was gutted by fire. The devastation was overwhelming. The cleaning up operations commenced 2 days post-fire.
A team of consultants led by Martin Goldswain from East London began planning. Craig Stavely from Johannesburg was the brilliant project manager.
Other members of the team were Arap Engineers from East London, Alan Jones, Clinkscales Maughan Brown Electrical Engineers, Mocoda Fire Engineers, and Prof Keet – a sound specialist.
The local team included Chris Johnson, Willie Botes, Ian McJannet and Roger Peter.
The restoration needed to be complete to accommodate the National Arts Festival in July 1995.
Sections of the Theatre walls were built in such a way to show the burnt as a visible reminder of how Phoenix rose out of the ashes.
The facility was officially reopened by President Nelson Mandela in 1996.