18:00 SAST

18:00  SAST

Symbols In Spaces

Investigating Symbols and Representations in Memorial Space and Whether Symbols Are Universal

Tendai Katsande

BArch Hons 2022

Unit Leader: Dr. Finzi Saidi
Unit Leader: Mathebe Aphane
Unit Tutor: Bonolo Masango
Unit Tutor: Nomalanga Mahlangu

Landscapes of Memory
Telling someone about what a symbol means is like telling someone how music should make them feel.
– Dan Brown

The starting point for my MDP was the moment we visited memorials and wondering why some of the symbols and representations don’t relate with me even though they are said to be universal. I often wondered whether it was because I was a foreigner in South Africa. My MDP is an investigation of the idea of architectural honesty, healing, remembrance and comfort by examining the symbols and representations on the site. I want to know whether the symbols and representations used are relevant or not against the ideal of comfort, healing and remembrance and if they prove not to be then I believe that that particular architecture is not being honest at this memorial.

To begin this project I investigated and analysed the symbols and representations on the Hector Pieterson Memorial site and the events that led to the necessity of the Hector Pieterson Memorial in the first place. After identifying the existing symbols on site, I thought it was fitting to also investigate some of their origins and their universal nature to understand whether a peace symbol in Europe is the same and represented the same way as it is in Africa and in South Africa. I then conducted an onsite inquiry at the Hector Pieterson Memorial, where I questioned locals about the meanings of the symbols there as they are believed to be universal. This research showed me that most visitors to the Hector Pieterson monument had their own interpretations of the symbols, and I believed that this was a result of chasing the supposed universal symbols primarily for commercial benefit and disregarding the objective of a memorial site.

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