Falling Monuments, Reluctant Ruins

The Persistence of the Past in the Architecture of Apartheid
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  • Publication Date: June 2021
  • Dimensions and Pages: 234 x 156mm ;Extent: 336pp
  • Paperback EAN: 978-1-77614-6-673
  • eBook EAN: 978-1-77614-6-703
  • PDF EAN: 978-1-77614-6-697
  • Rights: World
  • Recommended Price (ZAR): 420.00
  • Recommended Price (USD): 35.00
This ambitious collection dramatically extends our understanding of heritage and memorialisation in contemporary South Africa. An impressive line-up of contributors explore unexpected sites: burial grounds, pass offices, police stations, sunken ships and burned buildings.

– Isabel Hofmeyr, Professor Emeritus, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg and Global Distinguished Professor, New York University

This book offers powerful reflections on the variety of material reconfigurations of the racial past, without hasty promises of conciliation. In a time of intensified debate over monuments, symbols and forms of thought, and spurred by struggles to decolonise the university, lucid chapters help us confront whether and how we might yet decommission ‘reluctant ruins’.

– Sharad Chari, Professor, University of California, Berkeley, and WiSER, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

Falling Monuments, Reluctant Ruins offers a nuanced perspective that critically engages with
historical spaces, events and monuments. It advances current debates, as well as calls into
question how to move forward (or not) in processes of memorialising and reusing spaces in
which oppression was enacted or challenged. It addresses important questions about the
ways in which history, memory, agency and transformation are actively socially constructed
and reconstructed within landscapes and, in particular, through public spaces, land, buildings
and statues.
— Jennifer Houghton, Urban Futures Centre, Durban University of Technology

 

Falling Monuments, Reluctant Ruins: The Persistence of the Past in the Architecture of Apartheid interrogates how, in the era of decolonisation, post-apartheid South Africa reckons with its past in order to shape its future. Architects, historians, artists, social anthropologists and urban planners  seek answers in this book to complex and unsettling questions around heritage, ruins and remembrance. What do we do with hollow memorials and political architectural remnants? Which should remain, which forgotten, and which dismantled? Are these vacant buildings, cemeteries, statues, and derelict grounds able to serve as inspiration in the fight against enduring racism and social neglect? Should they become exemplary as spaces for restitution and justice? The contributors examine the influence of public memory, planning and activism on such anguished places of oppression, resistance and defiance. Their focus on visible markers in the landscape to interrogate our past will make readers reconsider these spaces, looking at their landscape and history anew.

Through a series of 14 empirically grounded chapters and 48 images, the contributors seek to understand how architecture contests or subverts these persistent conditions in order to promote social justice, land reclamation and urban rehabilitation. The decades following the dismantling of apartheid are surveyed in light of contemporary heritage projects, where building ruins and abandoned spaces are challenged and renegotiated across the country to become sites of protest, inspiration and anger.

This ground-breaking collection is an important resource for professionals, academics and activists working in South Africa today.

Acknowledgements
List of Figures
Foreword – Muchaparara Musemwa
Introduction – Hilton Judin

PART ONE: LANDS
Chapter 1 Land Dispossession and the Ghosts of the Medupi Power Station – Faeeza Ballim
Chapter 2 A Community Journey: Return to Juliwe Cemetery in Roodepoort, Johannesburg – Eric Itzkin
Chapter 3 Public Memory and Transformation at Constitution Hill and Gandhi Square in Johannesburg – Temba John Dawson Middelmann
Chapter 4 Ejaradini: Notes Towards Modelling Black Gardens as a Response to the Coloniality of Museums – MADEYOULOOK

PART TWO: BUILDINGS
Chapter 5 Johannesburg Central Police Station and the Photograph as Evidence – Sally Gaule
Chapter 6 The Persistence of Robben Island: Abolition and the Prison Museum – Kelly Gillespie
Chapter 7 The Apartheid Pass Office in Johannesburg and a Heritage of Destruction – Hilton Judin
Chapter 8 Indian Trading, Art Deco Buildings and Urban Modernity in a Segregated Town: Jubilee House in Krugersdorp – Arianna Lissoni and Roshan Dadoo
Chapter 9 An Uncertain Heritage and Resistance: Transforming the Drill Hall in Johannesburg – Barbara Morovich and Pauline Guinard

PART THREE: STATUES, AS MONUMENTS
Chapter 10 Creating Spaces of Memorialisation: New Delville Wood (France) and SS Mendi (South Africa) – Yasmin Mayat and Brendan Hart
Chapter 11 Re-historicising Credo Mutwa’s Kwa Khaya Lendaba Cultural Village in Soweto – Ali Khangela Hlongwane and Tara Weber
Chapter 12 Facing (Down) the Coloniser? The Mandela Statue at Cape Town’s City Hall – Cynthia Kros
Chapter 13 ‘Where’s Our Monument?’ Commemorating Indian Indentured Labour in South Africa –Goolam Vahed
Chapter 14 Decolonisation, Monuments, and a New Architectural Language – Nnamdi Elleh

Contributors
Index

About the Editor
Hilton Judin is an architect and director of postgraduate Architecture in the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of the Witwatersrand. Together with the History Workshop, he developed the exhibition [setting apart], and was curator and co-editor with Ivan Vladislavic of blank____Architecture, apartheid and after. He has worked on the Nelson Mandela Museum in Mvezo and the Living Landscape Project in Clanwilliam. His book Architecture, State Modernism and Cultural Nationalism in the Apartheid Capital is forthcoming.

This ambitious collection dramatically extends our understanding of heritage and memorialisation in contemporary South Africa. An impressive line-up of contributors explore unexpected sites: burial grounds, pass offices, police stations, sunken ships and burned buildings.

– Isabel Hofmeyr, Professor Emeritus, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg and Global Distinguished Professor, New York University

This book offers powerful reflections on the variety of material reconfigurations of the racial past, without hasty promises of conciliation. In a time of intensified debate over monuments, symbols and forms of thought, and spurred by struggles to decolonise the university, lucid chapters help us confront whether and how we might yet decommission ‘reluctant ruins’.

– Sharad Chari, Professor, University of California, Berkeley, and WiSER, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

Falling Monuments, Reluctant Ruins offers a nuanced perspective that critically engages with historical spaces, events and monuments. It advances current debates, as well as calls into question how to move forward (or not) in processes of memorialising and reusing spaces in which oppression was enacted or challenged. It addresses important questions about the ways in which history, memory, agency and transformation are actively socially constructed and reconstructed within landscapes and, in particular, through public spaces, land, buildings and statues.
— Jennifer Houghton, Urban Futures Centre, Durban University of Technology

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