The world-famous South African Dolos designer dies
Aubrey Kruger, the former East London harbour draughtsman who designed the ingenious dolos sea buffer system 50 years ago, died in East London recently.
Kruger's son Lance said his father used to tell the story of how he came up with the very first mock-up of the dolos after the harbour engineer Eric Merrifield instructed him to design a concrete structure that would protect the East London harbour breakwater from battering waves.
“Driving home to Cambridge on his Vespa, he asked this wife for the broom. He sawed it into three pieces and made the shape of [what was to be] the dolos.
“He based it on the dubbeltjie thorn. Then he went back to work and put it on Mr Merrifield’s desk.”
His father had then made a small prototype of the structure, which Lance said was named by his grandfather, Joseph Kruger, who worked at the harbour’s dry-dock.
“He came into Merrifield and dad’s office and said: ‘Ek sien julle speel met dolosse.’ [I see you are playing with dolosse]. Dolosse were joint bones children used to play with. And that’s how they were named.”
Lance said his father went on to work at the Durban harbour as a draughtsman, then returned to East London, where he started a tyre retreading business, before working as a truss designer for a timber company.
A keen diver and spearfisherman, he was an early member of the Border Undersea Club.
“In 1998, he retired to Mgwalana where he spent his time fishing and doing woodwork.”