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18:00  SAST

The Mythmaking Territory of Tours

The Tour as a Spatial Lexicon by Revealing Reinstituted Racial Methodologies Throughout Time

Sesethu Mbonisweni

BArch Hons 2022

Unit Leader: Tuliza Sindi
Unit Assistant: Tshwanelo Kubayi
Unit Assistant: Miliswa Ndziba

Unsettling Ground: Beyond the Terra Nullius
The work investigates architecture’s use as a rebranding prop in post-apartheid South Africa, where once weaponised spatial conditions are reframed as dignified and/or leisurely. 

The work reveals how the South African democratic government practices spatial rebranding through law, media, and tourism, and uses apartheid’s non-European 51 (1951) migrant labour temporary homes alongside the 1996 Land Reform Act RDP (Reconstructive Development Programme) housing scheme as grounding case studies.

The research hones in on the British settlement town of Makhanda (formerly known as Grahamstown, but still seldomly referred to as its rebranded name), and focuses on the town’s lack of physical change, despite its legislative rebrand as symbolic reparation, as stipulated by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The work focusses particularly on an annual tour that takes place in the town, where the re-enactment of British victory over the Xhosa is simulated at the highest outpost point of the town, which is now the site of the 1820s Settlers National Museum.

The work approaches such ritual practices as the practice of mythmaking and knowledge creation, that is disguised through a seemingly innocuous spatial frame of a tour, which allows it to be repetitively reinforced on a ritualistic basis. The work proposes a disruption of that territory-making by intercepting the spatial framework of the tour.

Democracy-as-rebranding, Architecture-as-prop, Simulation-as-reality, Tour-as-territory, Heterotopia, Mythmaking

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