Johannesburg’s Subterranean Ports as Sites of Contested Temporality
Chinenye ChukwukaBArch Hons 2022
Unit Leader: Jiaxin Yan Gong
Unit Assistant: Ruth Manda
Unit Assistant: Thandeka Mnguni
Rogue Roots: Magic of Port and Passage
This body of work observes and documents West African migrants’ occupation in impermanence within the city of Johannesburg through acts of home-making and space-making. Various spatial practises and the architectures used in claiming these spaces are examined. Drawing from Huda Tayob’s 2018 Subaltern Architectures: Can Drawing “tell” a Different Story? Time and conditions of ‘waiting’ are spatialised through drawing, collage and tapestry. These depict the difference in time periods and waiting by mapping its effects on occupation, ownership and citizenship. Looking at the Nigerian market on Plein and Claim street, Hillbrow, this site is explored as a subterranean port in the form of a market that provides the diverse needs of the West African migrant in Johannesburg CBD. Since its inception, the site has been through many versions of itself catering to the white communities during Apartheid and today catering to the West African community. The changes to the architecture of the building through its years is documented and drawn out to produce a Lexicon of Architectures in Waiting. This will act as a valuable handbook for incoming migrants who seek to rebuild parts of their lives here in Johannesburg.