22.1.12

A Disposable Camera in Cape Town - Memorials.


I spent some time debating with myself over whether or not to create this second post.

One of the main reasons I started this blog was as a release from the stress and sadness my studies can induce, and to give myself a space dedicated entirely to aesthetics. However, as my course progresses I have begun to consolidate a belief that undertaking a degree in human rights entails a certain kind of world view, and it isn't one that you can just switch off. This is one of the reasons I have decided to share these photos.

When I was in Cape Town, I visited several memorial sites to shootings and killings that occured during the apartheid era. For me, these memorials present a deeply significant intersection between art and human rights, and between aesthetics and grave abuses.




The monument in Langa township, dedicated to the memory of anti-pass law protesters who were killed by the apartheid security forces.



The Amy Biehl memorial in Gugulethu township. A white university student and anti-apartheid activist, she was killed by a group of black male protesters returning from a rally. They were pardoned by the Truth & Reconcillation Commission, Biehl's parents supporting the decision and forgiving her murderers.

The Gugulethu Seven memorial, in Gugulethu township - marking the spot where seven anti-apartheid activists were shot. There used to be plaques with names on, but these were no longer there, possibly stolen to be melted down for money. There was an intense tragic irony to this memorial - glossy marble next to shacks.


The Trojan Horse memorial in Athlone township - dedicated to the memory of three youths (aged 11, 15 and 21), and located at the sight of the ambush where they were killed by security forces. This monument was extremely moving in that it "fit" in its surroundings, and incorporated the original graffiti with the names of the victims.

1 comment:

X Collektiv said...

Why must memorials "fit" into degraded communities. If you took the time to speak to the people who live in poor communities. They don't want memorials that integrate or 'fit in' with their poverty. People who live close to the Trojan Horse Memorial are extremely critical of it yet the design is favored by mainly privileged artists and academics. Hence it was imposed. The Gugulethu 7 artists consulted with the community and Family members of to get a sense how they imagined the G7.
Are materials like marble, granite bronze only for the affluent areas of Cape Town? Where they 'fit' in? The G7 Memorial poses a challenge to the City and state to upgrade these poor communities.Then the memorial will fit it.