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African ladder Death Wish

A reader in South Africa has sent us photographs of a truly radical piece of ladder application engineering.

Possibly one of the craziest Death Wish entries we have seen in some time. The men are painting the church clock tower in the northern town of Mussina, (previously Messina) South Africa on the border with Zimbabwe.
The first glimpse looks bad enough, the man is clearly on a long ladder at some height and trying to rub down and paint.
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You might think that this is simply man on a long ladder doing a job that requires two hands?

The ladder is though longer than you might think, the one the man is on is not resting on the ground…..
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....However the base of the ladder is not on the ground, it is supported by this cantilever and human counterweight

It is in fact balanced on a cantilever arm created out of planks with a human counterweight sitting on them while ‘footing’ the ladder with a rope.
If you thought that was craxy it doesn’t end there, back up a little and you see the it goes on ……
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Step back and you can see the contraption these two have devised

And on ….
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..Although not quite, the first ladder is even longer! definite Death Wish

What ingenuity! The chances of this going wrong are about as high as they go, In fact we wonder which route up the ladder our man took? Did he climb the outward facing second stage? or did he clamber over the human counterweight?

….if only an aerial lift had been available. A definite Death Wish.


Fantastic example of ingenuity. By the way - the cantilever is not really that at all. The man isn't a counterweight, he's on the wrong side of the support to counterbalance the ladder and the outer end is supported by the middle ladder, so not a cantilever. A clever structure, probably more secure than it initially looks - but, you wouldn't get me on it!!

Nov 18, 2011

I am from Musina , Limpopo, South Africa, and this church is not in Musina(Messina), that I can promise you. There is a town Messina in Italy, probably try that one. I can send you pictures of all our churches as proof, just let me know.

Oct 31, 2011

vertikal editor
I have to admit we cannot be 100% certain, we were sent the photos and the information from a South African reader the day before we posted this story.

As is usual in these cases we try and check out the building to be sure of the locatiuon and to add any other details we might find or even get a quote from the owners. In this case we failed so had hoped that someone might have added a few furhter details after publishing as is often the case.

Does the building look familiar to you or is there another Mussine/Musina or Messina?


Oct 31, 2011

It is definitely NOT the Dutch Reformed Church
(NG-Kerk);also not the Hervormde Kerk. Can you tell us WHICH church in Musina , and WHEN the photo was taken??

Oct 31, 2011

Stairway to Heaven?

Sep 27, 2011

alan blackburn
death wish yes but you have to give the man 10 out of 10 to have the balls to go up it

Sep 26, 2011