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Forts of Sand

A Reimagining of Black Childhood through Critical Fabulation

Footage from Forts of Sand. Ndziba, M. Unit 19. 2021.

Miliswa Ndziba

MArch 2021

Unit Leader: Tuliza Sindi
Unit Tutor: Muhammad Dawjee
Unit Assistant: Lynette Breed

UNIT 19︎︎︎
The Act of Service: The Myth of Violence
Forts of Sand explores the myth of black children in South Africa growing up faster than children of other political races.

The work approaches architecture as the practice of manifesting the fantasy of persons or people through space-making. In South Africa the apartheid regime employed spatial segregation to produce a utopic vision of reality, in which black South Africans were rendered invisible. It was an architecture of fantasy. Thus, black children were denied their childhood in order to fast-track their entry into adulthood so as to justify their sole function as labour on the periphery of this fantasy. In current day South Africa, black childhood remains continually erased through space-making.

The study makes use of sand play and “critical fabulation” (Hartman, 2008) as narrative devices to make sense of the spatial condition created by the São José shipwreck on the ocean floor off the coast of Clifton 4th Beach in Cape Town, and proposes a passage along the coast of the African continent from the site of the shipwreck to the Island of Mozambique that bridges the journey home for the drowned child slaves to their final resting place.

Childhood, Fabulation, Myth, Ocean, Fort, Segregation

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