18:00 SAST

18:00  SAST


Mavu a Mudi, Architecture as a Tool of Reclamation

Vhutshilo Munyembane

BArch Hons 2022

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

Unsettling Ground: Beyond the Terra Nullius


The project investigates the Munyembani family’s land dispossession history from Beskow as a result of the forced removal actions enforced by the South African apartheid government between 1960 and 1983, and their pursuit toward resettling and re-establishing their lost ‘rituals’ of belonging.

This VhaVenda family, along with other former Beskow residents, were offered land in separate townships as compensation, which led to their ongoing segregation. The Munyembani family, comprising of a polygamous father, his two wives, and their twelve children, was given a 254sqm plot in Musina, Nancefleld, Mushongoville in 1996, roughly 45km away from their origin of Beskow. In an attempt to remain rooted to Beskow, the father, Mr Mushonga Zecharia Munyembani, carried Beskow plants and foods to Musina, in an attempt to recreate conditions of Beskow in Musina, and to keep his family biologically grounded there.

Soon after the November 2008 passing of Mr Munyembani, tensions between the two wives arose over the land ownership of the Musina plot. As the tension remains ongoing, with no view toward a resolution, the work proposes a revision of the existing land claims process through the mining of memory, toward establishing cosmological proof-of-life through ties to the ground as reflected through birth, life, death, and afterlife rituals.

Copyright © 2022 Graduate School of Architecture, University of Johannesburg, South Africa. All Rights Reserved.