Mbongiseni Buthelezi: Fieldwork, Killing Time and Accidental Photographs
The quirk of being the only person with a car available to ferry an old man to his family’s pre-wedding ceremony one afternoon in Nengeni village in Nongoma has left me with a wealth of photographs of the event. Taken merely as a way of killing time, the images capture moments of a ceremony in which Ndwandwe memory has lived on in defiance of Zulu suppression since the collapse of the Ndwandwe kingdom in 1826.
I do not yet know how to think about these images. My uncertainty to work out what to do with the photographs destabilises the notion of a regime of care: to keep these images because I do not know what to do with them is to be paralysed by good fortune. It is not to subscribe to or to institute any regimented form of care. Yet the images offer me a means to think about the cultural performance and its possibilities as an archive of loss and resistance to loss. Some of the possible questions I want to tackle, therefore, are: What work does photography do in research on oral artistic forms, the kind of work I was doing when I took these images? Is this ethnographic photography? What does one do with such photographs? Archive them? What are the ethical implications of using them contemporaneously with their subjects? Who owns them and so whose permission does one need to obtain before using them?
David William Cohen: A Curator’s Fingers: Photographers, Subjects, and The Third Thing
Third things are essential to marriages, objects or practices or habits or arts or institutions or games or human beings that provide a site of joint rapture or contentment.
– Donald Hall, Poetry.November 2004
In early September 1992, during a visit to South Africa, I found some eighty photographic negatives under a layer of dust on a concrete bunk of Room 49 of the Angelo Hostel at the Eastern Rand Proprietary Mines (E.R.P.M.) on the Reef near Boksburg. The photographs, all color, offered views of leisure, recreation, and sociability in the context of the living and working regimen of a South African mine in a time before Angelo Hostel was abandoned. And, at that moment, they did so against the prevalent images, typically in black-and-white, of the senses of confinement, exploitation and oppression of the mine-labor and mine-compound system of South Africa over the decades from the late nineteenth century to the end of apartheid.
While I was unable to sort out the identity of the photographer, or the photographer’s subjects, expert assessment suggested that the photographer was himself a miner and that these were pictures contracted—jointly enacted – by the photographer and his subjects. The indeterminacies of identity of the photographer and the subjects, and the sense that these negatives were property, opened ethical and moral issues regarding handling the found negatives produced by another individual who had maintained possession of these negatives—arguably, under his mattress – until he and his colleagues were evicted from the Angelo quarters and the hostel left as a ruin.
That nine years later I exhibited these photographs for the purposes of a talk presented at Emory University, and ten years later published an essay on them in a special number of Kronos, has not relieved me of hesitation regarding the status of these images and the responsibilities taken on by the curator (me) through the simple fact of finding them…
… This essay returns to the Angelo photos, and to the piece published in Kronos, and resets the discussion around the idea of a third presence. One point is to push further the ethical dimensions of the original essay, seeking to regain a sense of the hesitation earlier inherent in the project of reading and discussing these photos. A second objective here is to press for a more open, or broader, sense of curation in which all those engaged with images, things, and ideas – from first touching them, holding them in our fingers, to organizing their analysis, conservation, exhibition – are engaged with responsibilities and duties that are associated with those engagements. And a third goal is to underline the complexities of power when ‘the third thing’ is appropriately introduced to the equation marking the relations of authorities and subjects. The ‘third’, as in Donald Hall’s poetic, or as in JM Coetzee’s Susan Barton, interrupts the austere binary, regains some of the complexity of experience, debate, and critique, and suspends authority’s privilege.
Josette Cole: Towards a research proposal
This is not by any stretch of my or, the APC's, imagination an academic seminar paper. It is merely a way, a mechanism, for me to introduce something about myself, the broad contours of my own journey and, what brings me back, full circle, to UCT after a 25-year absence - to reflect, to learn, and to apply what I think I know in the context of an intellectual space provided by academia, in
conversation with those of you associated with the APC.
Alexandra Dodd: Pump up the Parlour: Entanglement and desire in the work of Nicholas Hlobo
As part of my broader PhD project – an exploration of the Victorian Postmodern in contemporary South African art and literature – I plan, in this paper, to imaginatively explore the unexpected spatial connotations in Nicholas Hlobo’s Standard Bank Young Artist Award exhibition, Umtshotsho (‘youth party’).
In the central installation, Isithunzi (‘shadows’) several gloopy black humanoid or alien forms are situated in a salon-style setting that conjures the restrained parlour-room antics and highly mannered mating games of 19th century novels. The setting of Hlobo’s installation could be read as Victorian, but the characters who populate the scene seem to have emerged from no man’s land – an otherworldly interzone somewhere between human and alien.
Hlobo’s dark lurking semi-human figures are so strikingly unlike any other figurative sculptures we’ve commonly encountered that they conjure new vocabularies of feeling. Rather than hankering after exhausted hand-me-down notions of cultural essentialism, his figures seem to connote an unknown and unfettered post-human future, while their setting references a familiar domestic realm and a sense of inherited European manners, restraint and propriety, instantiating odd flashes of uncertain hybridity. Taking these uninscribed moments of cultural entanglement as my starting point, I wish to explore notions of sexual restraint, alienation and liberty in Hlobo’s work.
Grappling with this inherited tangle of manners and mores, I will turn to Homi Bhabha’s The Location of Culture (1994), a key text in the development of hybridity theory, in which he analyses the liminality of hybridity as a paradigm of colonial anxiety. But although postcolonial theory has accounted for the complex enmeshment of European and African values and the creation of transcultural forms with the contact zones of the public sphere, there is little to account for an equivalent entanglement in the realm of intimacy and sexuality. In this paper I plan to outline how Hlobo’s work begins to articulate an embodied, physical sense of an entangled cultural inheritance.
Simon Hall: Layered landscapes: recognising multiple and contemporary identities in the recent ‘Sotho/Tswana’ past
The following notes outline themes and issues for an extended book project on the recent history of ‘Sotho/Tswana’ people in the areas to the west of the Drakensberg escarpment. The evidential core is material culture assembled through the discipline of archaeology. This project will make a contribution to changing the way in which archaeological material evidence of identity is read for the second millennium AD. This period is conventionally referred to as the Late Iron Age (LIA) or that of Later Farming Communities (LFC) depending on professional sensitivities over the narrow connotations of a label that draws specific attention to only one aspect of technology and to an ‘Age ‘ that alludes to a culturally coherent and distinct block of time.
The chronological focus is AD 1300 to 1880 and is chosen primarily because of methodological concerns. While the core of the discussion is on material culture evidence, this project is about evidential entanglement and the manner in which material culture may be animated to comment upon events, processes, changes and continuities that are broadly historical and contextually situated. Consequently, the project is also about oral and written evidence and most importantly, observed evidence; the so-called ethnographic present. It is for this period, that evidential domains can be most profitably combined. A caveat at the outset is that this disciplinary combination is not necessarily a search for interpretive coherence. Methodologically, it has already been shown that archaeological evidence provides perspectives that, for example, offset the claims of oral histories, as in the case of Vendaorigins (Loubser 1991). Different evidential domains bring their own independence that foreground the strategic bias in the way that other archives are constructed.
Carolyn Hamilton and Nessa Leibhammer: Labels and Other Archival Artefacts
In this essay we focus, in the first instance, on items collected by one individual each, held in one metropolitan museum, the Pitt-Rivers Museum, and in one local museum, the Natal Museum, relevant to the precolonial and colonial history of the area of KwaZulu-Natal between the Thukela and Mzimkhulu Rivers collected in the late colonial period.
The first half of the paper is focused, in the first instance, on the images taken, and the items of material culture collected, by Henry Balfour, the first Curator of the Pitt-Rivers Museum. The items in the Pitt-Rivers Museum offer an illuminating entry point into how metropolitan museum practices first captured material for preservation, classified and subsequently curated it, in the process characterising it and changing it.
In the second part of the paper, we focus, again in the first instance, on items from the Natal Museum obtained between 1898 and 1912 by the Museum, and its predecessor institution, the Natal Society, from the missionary, Fr. Mayr.We pay intensive attention to the particular images and objects and the stories of their collection and subsequent curation within a particular museum. We extend our first instance concern with collected photos and objects to encompass the expressive culture of the collection process and the museums, contained in photographs and objects of the collection process and the museum. We scrutinise the labels, catalogue entries, classification systems, storage boxes, shelf and display contexts to which they have been subjected, as well as their entry into public life beyond the museum. We explore this expanded body of objects and photographs to illuminate the relations of production of the archive of material pertinent to discussions of identity of the Zululand-Natal area in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. By focusing closely on the processes of collection and preservation and their wider contexts, we generate materials, of the archive itself, which allow us to probe what we conceptualise as the backstory of the objects before the moment of their collection.
Where conventionally an essay on what is available as the archive to explore identities in the Natal-Zululand region around the beginning of the twentieth century would feature images of “Young Zulu Man” and “Zulu Women”, hairpins and womens’ belts, perhaps our argument is powerfully made by featuring images of silver-rimmed labels, names on the edges of glass plates, details of background railway lines in homestead scenes, boots of photographers intruding into camera shots, and our curatorial fingers positioning items for photographs. These objects and photos allow us to begin to see that that at much the same time, but also across a small span of time, sometimes in the same places, or very close by, and certainly concentrated in particular areas, not only were objects of material culture being made, and collected, photographs taken, ethnographic observations noted, and contemporary politics performed, but also that the colonial official, James Stuart, was busy collecting the testimonies that became the highly influential documented, published archive of recorded oral tradition, The James Stuart Archive.
While the essay shows moments of overlap in these activities, or resonances across a relatively short period of time, it does not make a case for specific, direct connections. Rather it draws a picture of remarkable co-presence of collectors and facilitators of various kinds within a relatively small area, operating across a relatively short period of time. The essay reveals layers of connectons between individuals and places, and connections in and out of homesteads, metropolitan anthropology and museums, as well as local anthropology and museums, that allow us to gain a picture of the web of activity that contributed key materials that contributed to the instantiation of ideas of Zulu identity and culture that were, through variety of other forces, notably political ones centered on ideas of Zulu nationalism and ethnic identity, to loom so large in the twentieth century. We are enormously interested in the visual possibilities of depicting this co-presence in small areas and connectedness across large distances, through visual organisation of text that would break the linear structure of the essay in its current form, as well as in the organisation of the photographs allowing resonances to show up in visually powerful ways.
Daniel Herwitz: Monument, Ruin and Redress in South African Heritage
South Africa is a country in search of a national narrative that can articulate and bind together official state culture and citizenry. There have been two that have come close and remain in play. The first narrative was the driving ideal of the democratic transition in the 1990s. Essentially an artifact of transition, it stressed redress, acknowledgment, social flexibility, and building a culture of human rights. Actively opposing colonial and Apartheid heritage the narrative demonumentalized, which is what this chapter is about The second narrative, of African Renaissance, was an older artifact of Afro-centrist history, deriving from the 1930s, and then adopted as the official ideology of South Africa/Africa by State President Thabo Mbeki. Mbeki developed policies designed to build the African Renaissance into state institutions—with uneven success. The ideology preached renewal for South Africa and the African continent through a grafting of pre-colonial heritage and indigenous ways of knowing with neo-liberal thinking for a rapidly globalizing, democratizing country—and (putatively) continent. This narrative hit the wall of science policy during the HIV/AIDS crisis. Since it intersected in fascinating ways with the de-monumentalizing script of the country at a moment of transition, it will be introduced in this chapter, although it is the focus of the chapter following.
Shamil Jeppie: History for Timbuktu: Aḥmad Bul‘arāf, archives, and the place of the past
I am at the very beginning of this project. I have been going to Timbuktu for a number of years where I have been shown various private manuscript collections, apart from the major state archive established in 1973. From these visits and conversations with local scholars and my searches of the available catalogues the name Aḥmad Bul‘arāf– as a writer, copyist, collector, and scholar with legal competence – stands out. There are many traces of his work in so many libraries in Timbuktu, and I have learned, far beyond too. He is a significant 20th century figure
in the intellectual and social history of Timbuktu. Perhaps he may even be the leading figure responsible for us coming to see the place as a desert repository of books. His career is my first evidence of a conscious local project of collecting and conservation. This paper is the start of what I hope will become a book about Bul‘arāf. It reflects my preliminary engagement with a limited number of sources produced by and about him available to me at present.
Fritha Langerman: Of wood and trees: locating Eden and Noah’s Ark within displays of natural history
On a mountain ledge, high within the Drakensberg, a family of Panthera pardus are awakening. Spots and dappled sunlight converge as, framed between rocks and Agapanthus blooms, cubs and parents are captured in a moment of domestic bliss. Far-off hills reflect the early morning sun, dissolving into a perfectly clear sky. This untainted paradise is one of fourteen habitat dioramas installed at the Durban Museum of Science and painted by Nils Anderson in the 1950s'. On a recent visit to Durban I was privileged to catch the Campbell Gallery under refurbishment as the dioramas were being upgraded with custom LED spot lighting to enhance the time specificity of the geographically particular scenes.This had two effects: to draw attention to the artificiality of the constructed scenes and to literally expose the constructions to the viewer. In another scene, a Lycaon pictus mother lies recumbent, nursing her cubs while a supportive father looks lovingly at his family. Set in late afternoon amidstrolling hills, peppered with colourful foliage and darting birds, this is an idyllic moment - a view of Eden.
Brown Bavusile Maaba: The repatriation of the ANC material to Fort Hare: The early years
In this paper I argue that the repatriation of (tangible) heritage is a daunting and challenging task. I look at the repatriation of the African National Congress (ANC) archives to the University of Fort Hare as a case in point. In the paper, I demonstrate that the repatriation of archival consignment requires proper coordination and cooperation, skills and the necessary infrastructure to house the material. I show that, without these various requirements, many problems could emerge which could harm the work of the archives. I also show that the archives – in this case the ANC archives – could bring about prestige for an institution that houses such an important and rare collection and that this explains why there was a squabble for the ANC archives.
Litheko Modisane: Chapter One: Film, Archive and the Public Sphere
In the artist, Gerard Sekoto’s famous painting, Soka Majoka-Six Pence a Door (1946-7), a group of young black women, one with a baby strapped on her back, curiously line up against the entrance of a makeshift yellow tent attached to a small house. We can only see their backs as their faces are pressed towards the tent, hidden from view. Children stand against the wall of an adjacent house and peep into the tent where a show is taking place. Other characters walk at a distance, indifferent to the attraction. The nature of the show is unclear to the viewer. However, Sekoto has offered a revealing explanation:
Our home was close to the playing ground which was in the centre of the township. On Sundays Zulu dancers would come and put up a tent. People would be eager to see inside but many would hang around outside with curiosity as they did not have the sixpence to spend (Sekoto in Barbara Lindup 1995: 15).
Susana Molins Lliteras: From Toledo to Timbuktu: A life story of an archive
This paper is based on my PhD thesis proposal submitted to the Historical Studies Department at the University of Cape Town, entitled ‘Africa starts in the Pyrenees: Mahmud Ka’ti, connecting al-Andalus and Timbuktu’. It will explore the ‘life story’ of the Fondo Ka’ti archive; the processes through which it came into being and how it became recognized as such. It will offer glimpses of the types of questions that can be asked of the archive by using the methodological tools of recent analyses on the archive.I will argue for advantages of this mode of analysis and illustrate the underlying aspects that it can elucidate, which would otherwise have been overlooked if we treated the archive exclusively as a repository of historical sources. Therefore, I am treating the Fondo Ka’ti archive itself as a historical artifact, looking both at its conditions of production and well as at how its own being has in turn affected its context.
Njabulo Ndebele: The Celebratory Funeral of Eastern Cape Boxing Legend Nkosana ‘Happy Boy’ Mgxaji
It is a beautiful sunny Sunday in Mdantsane. Even at 8:15, the morning of Sunday February 13, 2011 is so hot I fought off the instinct to take off my jacket. A resistant funeral habit, the jacket is! The humidity on my face and hands feels like the infinitely tiny, misty raindrops called 'fly's spit': only this morning's spit is a little tacky. But the heat is no match for the crowds of humanity that were later to gather at the iconic Sisa Dukashe Stadium to bid farewell to boxing legend, Nkosana 'Happy Boy' Mgxaji on his last journey on earth.
Michael Nixon: Getting the Picture? Making Sense of Percival Kirby’s Photographs
What does it mean to produce photographs for a music archive, an archive around sound? Common sense might suggest that a music archive minimally is a technology to house, preserve, order and provide access to material culture to do with music: notations prescriptive and/or descriptive, and, from the late 19th century, sound and audiovisual
recordings, documents, and other media and artefacts relating directly or indirectly to music. In such an archive, photographs as successors to the older graphic media may well feature. Graphic media have been variously effective in graphically-symbolically representing music (notations), representing, performance techniques, music-theoretical constructs, musical instruments and the sociality of music. Niepce produced the first successful photograph in 1827, and photographs subsequently made their way from these first fragile, miraculous image into public circulation within a few years. Almost 50 years later six photographs appeared as illustrations beside 143 line drawings in a book from musician John Kirby's Aberdeen library; his son Percival Kirby recalled A Descriptive Catalogue of the Musical Instruments in the South Kensington Museum (Engel 1874) many years later as an early inspiration to his collecting activities (Kirby 1950:7). Photography was thus an integral component of Kirby's early impressions of a music archive.
Hedley Twidle: ‘In a Country Where You Couldn’t Make this Shit Up’? (Some thoughts on) literary non-fiction in South Africa
In the last few years, several critics have suggested that the most significant contemporary writing in South Africa is emerging in non-fictional modes. The work of authors like Antony Altbeker, Peter Harris, Antjie Krog, Jonny Steinberg and Ivan Vladislavić ‘almost convinces one’, in the words of one acclaimed novelist, ‘that fiction has become redundant in this country’.
This piece sets out to ask why such claims are being made now, and what they can tell us about the status of the literary in contemporary South Africa. What, after all, does the word signify in a phrase like ‘literary non-fiction’, and how can one trace appropriate lineages for the array of non-fictional modes that are simultaneously drawn on, refashioned and blurred into each other in contemporary South African writing: investigative journalism, the prison memoir, the diary, life-writing, urban studies, microhistory and archival reconstruction.
From Tom Wolfe’s The New Journalism (1973) to J. M. Coetzee’s ‘The Novel Today’ (1988), the relation between ambitious non-fiction and the serious novel has often been portrayed as one of antagonism and rivalry. Yet while not wanting to dismantle the different kinds of truth-claim made by fictive and documentary modes, I suggest that instances of fiction and non-fiction from South Africa have in fact for a long time been in an unusually intense, intimate and one might even say constitutive dialogue with each other. A critical methodology able to read such texts in counterpoint – sensitive to the ethical implications and contests of meaning as writers translate experience back and forth across the fiction / non-fiction divide – seems vital in accounting for the full scope of literary production in contemporary South Africa.
Nick Shepherd: Archaeology and ‘regimes of care’
In this visual essay I set in play a broadly Foucauldian notion of “regimes of care”, as a way of thinking about disciplinary knowledges and practices in relation to forms of epistemic violence. I take as a case study the exhumation of human remains from Oakhurst Cave on the southern Cape coast by John Goodwin and assistants between 1932 and 1935. The regimes of care which produced the particular forms of interment of the dead (on beds of sea-grass, the bodies flexed and painted with ochre so that the dead mirror the living, below whose sleeping hollows they lie) are doubled by a different and competing regime of care, that of the archaeologist. One pair of hands pats the soil home, a second removes it via the actions of a trowel. Subject to the disciplinary regime of the museum/ archive, the remains are photographed, plotted, bagged, numbered, accessioned, archived and described via a form of textual practice, which I have called ‘bare description’.
I speculate that archaeological regimes of care are founded on three forms of epistemic violence: a violence of objectification, a violence of excision (cutting), and a violence of abstraction and alienation. In the last, embedded claims are forced to yield to an abstraction, and the powerful, polysemous and ambivalent relation between the living and the dead is converted into a relation of knowledge: bare bones meet bare description. Using images form the Goodwin Archive, I explore these various claims and ideas.
John Wright: Ndukwana kaMbengwana as Oral Historian, 1897 – 1903
The importance of the James Stuart Collection and of the volumes of the James Stuart Archive as sources of information on the history of what is now KwaZulu-Natal from the mid-eighteenth to the early twentieth century has long been recognised. Stuart’s career as a recorder of oral histories in the period from the late 1890s to the early 1920s has for some time now been the subject of academic research.
Needed now are detailed studies of the lives and testimonies of his major informants, and of the particular contexts in which they engaged with Stuart. This paper aims to sketch out what is known of the life of Ndukwana kaMbengwana, and of his career as an oral historian. He was much the most important of Stuart’s informants in the early stages of the latter’s career, but researchers face the paradox that his life is known only through the notes on it that happen to have been made by Stuart. To understand Ndukwana, we need to understand Stuart; to understand Stuart we need to understand Ndukwana. Their careers as historians in the years 1897-1903 are inextricably intertwined.
Carine Zaayman: A compilation of the visual archive of Anne Barnard (with conceits)
This paper presents extended notes on my compilation of visual material from the archive of Lady Anne Barnard. Here I intend to explore some of the relationships between extant visual material in circulation, constituting the primary way in which Anne is imagined in the public mind. In my compilation, my strategy has been to juxtapose familiar images with some from my own work – which I have presented in earlier papers.
Jessica Natasha Brown: Towards an Ethics of the Dust :On the care of university art collections
This research project is an attempt to delve into contemporary theory of fine art conservation-preservation in search of sites of crisis or conflict within the field, with specific reference to the care of university collections. By convention, conservation theory is closely associated with what is styled as the ‘ethics’ of conservation, though it must be noted that the two are not wholly synonymous. This seemingly incongruous term refers less to a higher moral order than it does to the philosophy and value system that underpin conservation practice, and which function to produce ethical codes of practice; essentially, the teleological and axiological facets of the discipline. The focus of this research is to investigate the decision-making models that govern the care of educational, institutional collections, using the University of Cape Town (UCT) Permanent Works of Art Collection as a point of reference. This archive, by virtue of its history, function and approach, presents precisely the equivocality of certain value judgments that provide an interesting model through which to explore the responsibilities involved in the care of collections, in terms of both the destruction and conservation-preservation of art.
Clare Butcher: Mrs Pepys and the Pandemonium of the New
There is a Brechtian maxim which calls us to proceed not from the ‘good old things’ but from the ‘bad new ones’. As we imagine and produce new forms of what Philip Glahn calls ‘social and communal structures’ we, in the archives, need to consider the reenacting of past structures, and what dramaturgy might evolve when working to repeat/rework such contingent conditions as space, time, values, public, objects. Brecht used sports as a model, or mirror, able refract the capacity of particular social structures to build public interest and invoke certain collective vision. An exhibition is another such model whereby mediation and multiple, complex encounters between those forementioned factors are literally collected and performed in a bounded space and time. In the exhibitions: Contemporary British Painting and Drawing from 1947-8 and the survey show of South African Art in 1948, we can see a kind of sports-like game of national representation and international cultural exchange happening. In these exhibitions of ‘contemporary art’ the ‘now’ of ‘modern’ cultures, knowledge of the world and notions of beauty were set to work in the spectacular arenas of a post-WWII Commonwealth and a South Africa pre-apartheid.
I wish to wrest the reading of these exhibitions from a ‘purely’ art historical one, and to situate the exhibitions’ contemporaneity within a wider socio-political and methodological field. The multiple new forms of mediation which the shows incorporated, as well as the wealth of public discourse around them at such a time in history presents an urgent opportunity to rethink both the making of archives of exhibitions and the practice of making exhibitions themselves now. Via a series of stylistic exercises, inspired by the methodology of Brecht, I wish to create a performative or event-based archive whereby the complex elements of each exhibition are distilled and formalised in various settings, using various means of reenactment. With this speculative and therefore contingent accumulation of voices, approaches, discourses and scenarios I hope to produce not only an unorthodox understanding of these exhibitions within South African cultural history but also to construct a real-time research process which goes beyond the study of exhibitions, extending into the way we give form to and perform these social and communal structures in the present.
This paper presents an early stylistic exercise which attempts to bring together voices from across a number of temporalities and geographies – attempting to ‘set the scene’ as it were for other action to take place. Mrs Pepys (a painter) is given the task of more universally situating the real objects within the exhibition in a lunchtime lecture monologue based on actual reports taken from press archives; John Rothenstein of the Tate Galleries in London who was instrumental in the execution of both exhibitions at the time and hailed as a ‘real’ art expert, shares with us his misgivings of the task of writing an art history of the present; we hear the voice of the writer Jan Verwoert who calls for more turbulence as we navigate the flightpath of modernity; and my own interjections as a writer performing or rather playing with an art historical register. The final component of the ‘piece’ will take place in the real-time of the APC workshop, allowing a collective experience where we, as readers, become audience, become experts, become complicit participants.
Mbongiseni Buthelezi: Being an isiZwe: Ndwandwe Ihubo and iziBongo in Domestic and Public Spaces
In this paper I trace the use of the Ndwandwe ihubo lesizwe and izithakazelo in the context of a hypothetical person’s life. I argue that it is such repeated use of these forms that primes their users to be receptive to the mobilisation messages of the uBumbano lwamaZwide, the association attempting to network people of Ndwandwe descent.
JM de Prada-Samper: ‘The pictures of the |xam people are in their bodies’: Presentiments, landscape and rock art in //kabbo’s country
//kabbo’s testimony about ‘Bushman presentiments’ tells about invisible signals that both people and animals felt in their bodies, warning them of impending danger or the proximity of others. Incisions and other markings in the body facilitated the transmission of these signals. The testimony opens with an intriguing reference to !gwe:, a term translated by Lloyd as ‘letters’ but which very likely means ‘pictures’. This makes possible to establish a connection between the ‘presentiments’ and the rock engravings, incisions on rock with which the /xam marked many places of their territory. The fact that ‘Bushman presentiments’ is set in a very specific landscape which includes to engraved hills reinforces this connection.
Alexandra Dodd: The Persistence of Empire: Unveiling transnational legacies of race in Funnyhouse of a Negro
In this chapter I explore Zambian-born, Cape Town-based theatre maker Mwenya Kabwe’s contemporary (2010/2011) production of African American playwright Adrienne Kennedy’s best-known work, The Funnyhouse of a Negro, which was first professionally produced at New York City’s East End Theatre in 1964, at the height of the Civil Rights struggle in America.
I examine the production through a Victorian post-modern lens, focusing on the dominant presence of the persona of Queen Victoria, whose spectral presence overlooks the proceedings of the entire play. In Kabwe’s production, her outsize regalia and crown are installed in the corner of the stage, so the echo of her imperial presence is never quite absent from the unfolding narrative. I look at the influence of the work of Mary Sibande and Yinka Shonibare on Kabwe’s adaptation of Kennedy’s play, considering the inventive and path-cutting ways in which these contemporary artists have similarly engaged with the Victorian legacy in a post-modern, post-colonial context. I also draw on an interview with Kabwe about her own creative and political responses to the omnipresent imperial legacy of Queen Victoria in post-independence Africa and how this haunting shaped her adaptation and staging of Kennedy’s play.
This essay was written with reference to Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness, Engseng Ho’s Empire Through Diasporic Eyes: A View from the Other Boat and Jennifer deVere Brody’s Impossible Purities: Blackness, Femininity and Victorian Culture, in which she shows that Victorian culture was bound inextricably to various forms and figures of blackness. Kennedy’s play explores the excruciating personal reality of this entangled inheritance through the tortured character of Sarah.
I explore the implications of the resuscitation of Kennedy’s text by Kabwe and the ways in which Kabwe’s production shines a light on the insidiousness of our colonial inheritance which, although apparently dormant and defunct, lies just beneath the surface of contemporary South African cultural landscapes and identity politics, perhaps playing more of a powerful role in shaping our everyday actions and thinking than we might perceive. I focus on the translation of the play from civil rights-era America to post-apartheid South Africa, looking at the temporal and geographic leap, and the perplexing diasporic persistence in contemporary South Africa of the same torturous racial identity issues tackled by Kennedy half a century ago in 1960, when she penned the play.
Megan Greenwood: Watchful Witness: Memory-Work and the Crypt Centre of Memory and Witness of St George’s Cathedral
There are two predominant modes of remembering the past in the contemporary post-apartheid South African context. One, which works towards developing a national narrative, remembers the past as constituted by struggle towards freedom through overcoming the oppression and injustice of apartheid. A second mode of remembrance, exemplified by the 1996 Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), assumes that remembrance of the trauma of the past is part of a process that leads towards healing, reconciliation and unity. Underlying both modes is the objective of bringing social cohesion.
One readily associates the Cathedral Church of St George the Martyr, Cape Town, with the second mode of remembrance. Not only did the Cathedral's Archbishop Desmond Tutu play an integral role in the TRC process, but the discourse of the TRC’s mode of remembrance was embedded in Christian theology, which is foundational to the Cathedral's contemporary practice as a Christian faith-based institution. One would therefore surmise that, should the Cathedral begin to engage in remembrance-work in the post-apartheid context, it would resemble the mode of the TRC. However, as this paper seeks to demonstrate, the Cathedral's Crypt Centre of Memory and Witness, founded in 2009, pursues remembrance towards a different end. By using museum exhibition modality, the Cathedral’s Crypt Centre uses remembrance to engage in a practice of socialisation, asserting itself into the civic arena as a place for deliberative activity to explore modes of citizenship in a post-new South Africa, globally-interconnected context.
Mona Hakimi: Protea Village Bishopscourt Breyani: The emergence of a post-community
This paper is based on ethnographic research with people who were involved in a recent land claim case in Cape Town, South Africa. It explores the thoughts and experiences of a core group of claimants of the dispossessed land at Protea Village and the larger network of people involved in the restitution process. The main focus of this paper is the notion of ‘community’ and how it manifests in a complicated, post-Apartheid context. In tracing ideas and acts of community, the persistence of the past is a recurrent theme. This paper analyses the lived realities of Protea people at court, in their homes and at their church. At court, the past of Protea is entangled with the present legitimacy of the communal land claim. At homes, communal practices that demonstrate a continuity with the past are evident. At church, while the past persists, the generation of a new kind of breyani community is taking place. This paper concludes that Protea people transcend the limitations of the concept of community to constitute a post-community.
Carolyn Hamilton and John Wright: Researching the History of the KwaZulu-Natal Region, c.1750 – c.1830: Introduction to a proposed set of essays
Our aim in this book is to publish a selection of the essays, some previously published, others not, which we have researched and written, jointly and individually, since the mid-1980s on the history of the KwaZulu-Natal region from the mid-eighteenth century to about 1830. This period, which culminates in the emergence of the Zulu kingdom under Shaka, has long been a key focus in both popular history-writing and academic research. The issues that we raise in the essays are directly relevant to the writing of southern African ‘precolonial’ history more generally. In selecting particular essays for publication, we aim to highlight our contributions in the following spheres of research: 1) empirical studies of the period; 2) critical historiography of southern Africa’s ‘precolonial’ past; 3) analysis of the provenance and meanings of the recorded oral histories which form a prime source of evidence on the period; 4) the making of collective identities in the KwaZulu-Natal region in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries; 5) critical examination of ways in which Shaka has been imagined; 6) the historical ‘entanglements’ of ideas propounded by black commentators and by white commentators on the history of the KwaZulu-Natal region in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
Brown Bavusile Maaba: The repatriation of the ANC material to Fort Hare: the early years
In this paper I argue that the repatriation of (tangible) heritage is a daunting and challenging task. I look at the repatriation of African National Congress (ANC) to the University of Fort Hare as a case in point, demonstrating that the repatriation of archival consignment requires proper coordination and cooperation, skills and the necessary infrastructure to house the material. I show that without these various requirements many problems could emerge which could harm the work of the archives. I also show that archives, in this case the ANC archives, could bring about prestige for an institution that houses such an important and rare collection and that this explains why there was a squabble for the ANC archives.
Brenton Maart: Untitled
This document is a draft of a PhD proposal for submission to UCT, undertaken within the Department of Fine Arts. It outlines the intention to develop a contemporary archive of photographs of selected buildings built by the apartheid government in previous South African homelands, supplemented with a collated digital archive on the biographies of the buildings. The research question centres on how and why certain of the buildings have been integrated into the new South African bureaucracy, while others have been neglected and allowed to fall into ruin. The document also provides an initial literature search for the fields under consideration.
George Mahashe: Dithugula tša Malefokane: framing the ethnographic photographic archive at Iziko South African Museum made by EJ and JD Krige in Bolobedu
The paper aims to introduce a collection of ethnographic photographs, which are residues of a collaborative encounter in the fashion of participant-observation of anthropologists EJ & JD Krige’s fieldwork and Balobedu during the 1930s. The encounter led to the wider reinvention of the knowledge that is Khelobedu in the book, The Realm of a Rain Queen: A study of the pattern of Lovedu society. To introduce this archive, I try to paint my conception of what an ‘ancestor archive’ might be, and frame the Krige archive as an ‘ancestor archive’ by exploring the complex of Ho Phasa, a ritual event used to placate the ancestors as a cure for the violent potential inherent in their archive.Imagining Ho phasa around a collaborative polarity between Ditaola (the doctor/diviner’s divination bones) and Dithugula (historical or sacred object/thing possessed by a family), a polarity in need of mediation or conducting whose aim is to circulate knowledge housed under the ‘ancestor archive’. Mostly, I introduce the idea of the said archive as Dithugula tša Malefokwane, framing the photographic as sacred objects/things of the Kriges and Balobedu, who I see as the common ancestors to the knowledge inherent in this archive. I carve out a space for the invention of Motshwara Marapo; the character that conducts the space in between.
Jesmael Mataga: The Immobilised Museum and Emergent Spaces in Zimbabwe ii: The Spiritual and the Sacred, 1980-2010
My previous papers considered the museum in independent Zimbabwe as unprioritised, tainted and spaces sustaining colonial collections, narratives and representation. Colonial exhibits and collections in the museum have remained unchanged but new spaces for representation and commemoration have emerged, as counter to colonial modes of representation and as alternative platforms in the postcolonial period. Three distinct spaces, outside of the museum have emerged since the 1980s. The first category is the archaeological sites and monuments, which, in the postcolony, have been re-interpreted, challenging the long history of locals’ disenfranchisement at these sites. The reinterpretation is manifest in new forms of museums (site interpretive centres, community museums and theme parks). Second is the (re)emergence of landscape, especially spiritual/sacred sites. Sites associated with African spirituality, spirit mediums and heroes/heroines have been professionalised as ‘intangible heritage’. Thirdly, there are sites of the struggle i.e. spaces associated with the fight against white colonial rule presented as ‘Liberation Heritage’ and manifesting in heroes acres/shrines, liberation routes memorials and museums. I seek to present a survey of these ‘new’ spaces as important sites for reproducing narratives of the country’s past and heritage but also as platforms for economic and cultural restitution and redress. Questions asked include: what narratives are produced/foregrounded and which ones are foreshadowed at these sites, what archive is marshalled in creation of these narratives (oral, documentary or otherwise), and how are these spaces used and who controls their use for what purpose? In this paper I focus on the second category of sites i.e. the spiritual and sacred sites.
Grant McNulty: History and custodianship in Umbumbulu: contemporary identity politics in KwaZulu-Natal
For the most part of the twentieth century, South Africa’s political landscape was dominated by a generic notion of Zuluness, used to strengthen Zulu nationalist sentiments in the first part of the century and later in the form of the Inkatha Freedom Party, a Zulu political party led by Mangosuthu Buthelezi. Buthelezi drew heavily on the past and manipulated traditional ‘Zulu’ cultural symbols in order to consolidate a regional powerbase in the former Bantustan of KwaZulu, which, towards the end of apartheid, contributed to considerable violent conflict in much of KwaZulu and political instability in South Africa as a whole.
A post-apartheid and post-Zulu political space has now opened and emergent cultural movements point to a widespread and growing opposition to the idea of a homogenous Zulu people. This paper explores contemporary expressions of identity, and appeals for cultural recognition and restitution in Umbumbulu, an area that has deep historical disassociations from centralised Zulu power and identity. It looks at how history is produced and by whom, at claims to custodianship of the past, and the way in which it is used as a resource in the present. In doing so, it considers the blurred distinction between custodianship and the production of history and the extent to which custodial impulses and the productive are intertwined. The paper reveals significant disputation within one of the emerging cultural movements, as well as a major contestation between the Zulu Royal House, which seeks to maintain its historic monopoly and custodianship of generic ‘Zulu’ traditions and customs, and these cultural groups, which are calling for recognition of pre-Zulu customs, traditions and more localised identities.
Litheko Modisane: Flashes of Modernity: Heritage According to Cinema
Through a reading of African Jim (1949), the essay reflects on the construction of African
Experiences of modernity in early South African black-centered cinema. The reading is meant to facilitate an inquiry into the concept of heritage of modernity from the perspective of the textual interpellation of black South Africans in black-centered cinema. Considering the historical inequalities attendant on the production of film in South Africa, and the depiction of modernity within predominantly black settings, the essay is intended to shed light on the contradictions of historical and cultural inheritances from the perspective of film. Central to the inquiry is the question of the possibility of understanding heritage as complex and negotiable, sometimes in unexpected but productive ways. It is hoped that this essay will make possible, the theorization of the role of film in relation to heritage discourse in the post-apartheid period in particular and the post-repressive regime societies in general.
Elsemi Olwage: Remembering and re-imagining: the role of the past in navigating current social realities on a San resettlement farm
This paper is based on research conducted on a San re-settlement farm situated in a seemingly remote corner of central-east Namibia. It explores the complex and often ambiguous ways in which the past becomes intertwined with the present in a context where historical contingencies severely impact on the attempts of Ju/’hoansi-speaking people to re-imagine and create new forms of livelihoods. Moreover, it looks at the ways in which the Ju/’hoansi-speaking people that live on this reclaimed piece of land struggle with, negotiate, and creatively engage with a certain Bushman legacy identity in trying to actualize their desire for change. Thus, this study will show the work the past is made to do within the daily negotiations of the Ju/’hoansi with other, usually more powerful actors, especially through the mobilization and refashioning of cultural heritages, inherited ways of knowing, and experiential knowledges.
Mario Pissarra: Through the lenses of decolonisation: Reading colonial and postcolonial Africa in and through the paintings of Sam Ntiro and Malangatana Ngwenya
This proposal outlines the rationale and methodology for a comparative study of two under-researched foundational figures in the history of modern art in Africa, Sam Ntiro and Malangatana. The study situates their life and work within the pre and post independence contexts of Africa, specifically Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique. It aims to contribute towards the development of a theory of art and decolonisation, as a relevant critical framework for the interpretation of the work of Africa’s pioneering modernists.
Andrew Putter: Untitled
Having only recently begun my masters, I have used this paper to introduce myself. In it, I look at the way in which aesthetic encounters over the last decade have turned me into someone that has become interested in ‘Africa.’ The most important of these encounters has been with the ethnographic photographs of Alfred Martin Duggan-Cronin, who made this work in southern Africa from the teens to the late 1930s. After discussing Duggan-Cronin’s work and why it interests me as an artist, my paper makes an abrupt turn into another realm: the practical reasons for deciding to do my Masters in film-based photography.
Janie Swanepoel: Spaces around spices: Reminiscences of the past, and perceptions of the present
This paper is about an anthropological field study that examined a small spice-trading store in Durban inner city. It analyses the day-to-day practices, perceptions and life narratives, to illustrate the ways in which the past manifested itself in the present. By understanding place as a ‘practised place’, it also shows how trading tactics can negotiate the limits etched in by historical processes, and the ways in which heritage and history were mobilised to assert identity in a complex post-apartheid space.
Hedley Twidle: ‘In a country where you couldn’t make this shit up’? (Some thoughts on) literary non-fiction in South Africa
In the last few years, several critics have suggested that the most significant contemporary writing in South Africa is emerging in non-fictional modes. The work of authors like Antony Altbeker, Peter Harris, Antjie Krog, Jonny Steinberg and Ivan Vladislavić ‘almost convinces one’, in the words of one acclaimed novelist, ‘that fiction has become redundant in this country’. This piece sets out to ask why such claims are being made now, and what they can tell us about the status of the literary in contemporary South Africa. What, after all, does the word signify in a phrase like ‘literary non-fiction’, and how can one trace appropriate lineages for the array of non-fictional modes that are simultaneously drawn on, refashioned and blurred into each other in contemporary South African writing: investigative journalism, the prison memoir, the diary, autobiography, urban studies, microhistory and archival reconstruction.
From Tom Wolfe’s The New Journalism (1973)to JM Coetzee’s The Novel Today (1988) – and, more recently, David Shields’s Reality Hunger (2010) – the relation between ambitious non-fiction and the serious novel has often been portrayed as one of antagonism and rivalry. Yet while not wanting to dismantle the different kinds of truth-claim made by fictive and documentary modes, I suggest that instances of fiction and non-fiction from South Africa have in fact for a long time been in an unusually intense, intimate and one might even say constitutive dialogue with each other. I probe this relation by examining two encounters: the first a panel on non-fiction at the 2010 Cape Town International Book Fair (from which this piece takes its name), and the second a revealing reading, or as I will argue, misreading, of Coetzee’s Disgrace by Steinberg.
Niklas Zimmer: Still Remains: reading Basil Breakey’s fragmented contact sheets in the archive – problematising the ‘reappropriation’ of visual records in South Africa
In this paper I attempt to describe some of the difficulties that arise in reading the photographic fragments of visual history of South African jazz culture in the unpublished, ‘ephemeral’ archive of Basil Breakey’s contact sheets at Musicpics, as well as point out some of the creative potential to be uncovered in this work. I begin with a point-in-case discussion of the general changes in the practise of photographing live, local music since the more-or-less concurrent watershed period of pre-democracy/analogue and post-apartheid/digital photo-documentary work. From there I continue to integrate some of the relevant questions that various theorists have contributed to the larger discourse on photography into a more focussed discussion of imaging South African jazz culture, and how such questions may be synthesised with the burgeoning discourse on South African jazz history. In conclusion, an argument is made for re-visiting the unpublished ‘incidental’ process-work of Breakey’s in order to further and deepen the potential for visual-conceptual contributions to the overall project of ‘reappropriating’ extant records and narratives of South African jazz culture.
Jessica Brown: Musings on Collections
The origin of the word 'curator' springs from the Latin curare, that is, to care'. However unstable and dislocated the relationship, curatorship and conservation remain beholden to one another and coupled in the cause of custodianship. The greater research project represents an attempt to understand shifts in contemporary theory of fine art conservation, particularly in relation to the care of university collections, using the University of Cape Town (UCT) Permanent Works of Art Collection as a case study.
I am interested in the possible ambiguities which may arise in the mediation between the artworks and their various audiences, in a collection where custodianship is largely absent, and the implications this may have on our understanding of the roles of curatorship and conservation. I see the particularity of the UCT collection, and the decision-making models that govern its care, as a means to foreground my concerns regarding our understanding of the roles of conservation and curatorship. I believe that this collection, by virtue of its history, function and approach, presents precisely the equivocality of certain value judgements that may prove an interesting model through which to explore the responsibilities involved in the care of collections and the life of the artwork. This text represents neither a single chapter nor an overview of the thesis as a whole, but rather, some musings on the concept of the university collection which I hope will have a bearing on the project, in its fullness.
Clare Butcher: Exhibitions as Archives, Archives as Exhibitions: handshakes and hospitality research
My exhibition research project operates on two main levels. The first attempts to meet a fairly art historically-based need: to begin inserting the story of contemporary South African art exhibitions into the canon of modern South African art being constructed in a post-apartheid/post-colonial period. The second level of research aims to respond to a recent international call for new methodologies that accurately reflect the dynamism of what exhibitions actually do, even if analysed in retrospect.
Exhibitions, in their many shapes and forms, have been used in modern society as a means of mediating historical knowledge. As collections of distinctive objects, framed by particular institutional and cultural (borrowed or "local") taxonomies of taste, exhibitions become containers not only of aesthetic information about a particular period, but they also evidence a distinctive cultural infrastructure. How can we build archives of exhibitions that remain rigorous in the analysis of the art historical and socio-political conditions of their time; but in such a way that this archive of an archive becomes relevant when experienced in the present - not merely some 'meta-conversation, academic in the worst way'?In the following paper I will introduce my motivations for beginning that exhibition story with two case studies - a pair of cases one might say, carried out as a cultural transaction between Britain and South Africa between 1947-9. Couched within a wider debate around exhibition-making and exhibition archiving, I aim to highlight the significance of this "curated" encounter between the Empire's centre and one of its furthest peripheries as an early, and quite remarkable example of what has become a main component of South Africa's involvement in an international "contemporary" art politics. I will follow this motivation with a description of the methodology I intend to employ as curator of an exhibition archive-in-development.
David Cohen: Thinking about the Dead of Africa
In representation, the living displace the dead. In life, the dead of Africa claim subjectivity against a present will to objectify them. So many dead, so little understanding of their worlds, the dead are too easy to acknowledge, too hard to repay. Evading the confident protocols of demography, economics, and political science, the dead return and regain control of Africans' lives. The dead evoke questions of recognition, death, loss, remembering, meaning, and justice. The dead endlessly produce intellectual, symbolic, emotional work, conditioning the unsettled project of writing Africa. Questions of faith resolve around the struggles to contain the work of the dead. A notional historicization of this work of the dead may be possible. The dead could once be contained, succored at least, or remembered so. . .but now the dead—at least in part by their own works—re-emerge as complicated players, hardly marching to a common anthem or susceptible to ready investigation, not to say representation. The ancestors are re-embodied as complex subjects, in the midst of efforts to comprehend, and deploy or restrict, them as objects of memory, reflection, and representation.
Jose de Prada-Samper: Louis Anthing and the Genocide of the /Xam Bshmen
ABSTRACT: Louis Anthing (1829-1902) is almost unknown to contemporary South African historiography, yet the published and manuscript documents derived fromthe investigation he conducted in Bushmanland in 1862 about the reports ofmassacres of Bushmen by white and coloured farmers make of the extermination of the /xam possibly the first officially documented genocide. The archival reportsalso suggest that the genocidal campaign against the /xam was planned beforehand by the perpetrators. This paper also tries to piece together the few facts known so far about Anthing's life, and proposes that the massacre sites mentioned in his reports should be protected as "sites of conscience", thus using the landscape as a memorial and as a means to educate present and future generations about the horror of genocide.
Jo-Anne Duggan: Robert McBride: Muzzled Truth / Contested Reconciliation
Robert McBride, described by his biographer Gomolemo Mokae as "arguably the man least forgiven in South Africa', has been hailed as a hero of the freedom struggle and vilified as a racist murderer who targeted innocent civilians". He has been shunned by the ANC when it was deemed politically expedient for the organisation to disassociate itself from his actions,lauded when it was considered appropriate to lay claim to his leadership skills and defended by the president when branded a murderer by those who publicly opposed his appointment as a metropolitan police chief.'" The South Gauteng High Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that it was false to call him a murderer — even though headmitted to and was found guilty of causing the deaths of three women - the Constitutional Court ruled that it was not.
While opinions of McBride expressed in public and in the media have been consistently polarised, this is not unexpected in a society in transition where identities are fluid; yesterday's villains are today's revered leaders and yesterday's heroes toppled from their pedestals, literally and figuratively.
What sets McBride apart is the extent to which the contestation over his identity, the way in which he is described, has ignited debate in the public domain on the weighty issues of amnesty, politically motivated violence, race and the question of whether national amnesiais a prerequisite for reconciliation. His actions, and the responses to them have stimulated public discussion, provoked public deliberation, challenged the courts and unsettled the way in which McBride and the past is represented in present-day South Africa.
Jeff Guy: IMOFANEKISO – Photographic portraits from mid-nineteenth century Natal: the work of Dr R.J. Mann
The presentation will begin with a viewing of a selection of Mann's photographic portraits without comment or commentary. This will allow the participants to form an opinion of the images they have seen before I present my own assessment. The following pages have been written to provide participants in the seminar with some biographical information on the photographer.
Charlote Johnson: To who it may concern: Notions of the “public” in public art
This paper is a work in progress. It lies at a point somewhere between field research of a fledgling anthropologist and a thesis that will, in time, procure for me an honours degree. It is based on my time spent doing research with the tender consortium and public art machine extraordinaire, The Trinity Session. As of June 2011, The Trinity Session, by appointment of the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA), has become the principle implementation body of public art in the City Johannesburg. It is shortly after this appointment that I joined The Trinity Session to take a look around. What I was looking to probe upon embarkation was the conception of the public held by the various parties involved in this particular process in the City—the JDA, The Trinity Session, artists and the public. Moreover, I wanted to surface the reasons behind the practice of public art being used to address a public or the public. In flapping for theoretical structure that I could pin to this experience, I thought myself very clever when I conceptualised that the work of The Trinity Session was in a sense, social work. Yet, this term I found, in time to be utterly flat, pejorative and insipid. Hence the purpose of this paper is to search the horizons for a different term that could at least try to more accurately describe the work, the changing tide, that is happening in Johannesburg. A starting point has been to search for a term that would connote an opposite to Rob Nixon's term "slow violence" (2011) and it is this project that I am hoping will form the foundation of the thesis in its entirety.
Nessa Leibhammer: The Art of Daily Life: portable objects from southeast Africa
19th and early 20th century southern African art profiled
South African traditional art has seldom been the subject of sustained research or focused display by art galleries and art museums in the United States. Over the last 35 years there have been few exhibitions that included southern African art' and even less that focused exclusively on material from this region.2 The largest, Rhoda Levinsohn's 1983-4 exhibition African Elegance: The Traditional Art of Southern Africa, while extensive in the extent of objects on display, was drawn from her own personal collection put together in South Africa from 1975. Rather than showing a wide cross-section of art from the region, this exhibition's focus was on the 'decorative arts' (woven baskets, beer vessels, wire toys, beadwork) and contained mainly mid to later twentieth century objects. Absent were any late nineteenth and early twentieth century items, especially carved wooden pieces that were already difficult to find in South Africa at the time she was collecting.
Brown Maaba: Towards a Conclusion
This thesis has openly and candidly covered the history and politics of the liberation archive at Fort Hare. It does so with the use of interviews and administrative records pertaining to the liberation archives. As demonstrated in the thesis, the repatriation and preservation of liberation archives to Fort Hare was indeed a challenging task accompanied by controversy, ambiguities and at times explicit and ruthless decision making. But was the Fort Hare experience an isolated incident which had no bearing on other institutions which housed liberation documents in different parts of the country? Did these institutions never experienced challenges similar to that of Fort Hare? Considering this, it will really he unjust for this work not to scrutinise, even if briefly, if these challenges or debates existed in these institutions. Failure to do so could give an impression that fighting is a black thing and that this explains the squabbles over archives at Fort Hare. Institutions like UCT, Wits and to some extent UWC were in the field of archives for a long time, making Fort Hare a late comer in the archives world. Instead, the archives squabbles made Fort Hare to play into the hands of such institutions which missed an opportunity but somehow still hoped to house, if not the ANC archive itself, related material.
Beyond Fort Hare, the furore over archives was even fiercer as established institutions were far more grounded in archives management and knew of the value of archival material such as struggle documents. So the subject of liberation archives is bizarre and complex. A more detailed study that would fully unpack the politics of the liberation archives in these institutions is needed as a follow up to this work. The national discourse on archives is intertwined with the politics of archives at Fort Hare, so though some of the examples used in this section may not relate directly to Fort Hare, they reflect on the archives discourse in the country more generally.
George Mahashe: “Motshwara Marapo” as participant observer in the archive
This paper serves as a bridge between my last paper on the particularity of the Krige archive and my next paper; which will introduce my photographic work on Balobedu in to the conversation with Krige’s work. It is more of a field note or a research diary rather than a paper. It concerns itself with the placing of myself in context and takes as its theme the tools of framing an as well as my ideas of what I understand the questions to be. First it attempts to introduce photography as a portable medium while charting a space for imagining the Archive as well as culture (particularly Lobedu culture) as portable concepts that are able to change form without its previous form becoming obsolete. It also places in context the Motshwara Marapo as a methodology, using the concept of a conductor as a metaphor for what the Motshwara Marapo is suppose to do. Most importantly it illustrates my conception of photography’s relation with anthropology as an on going relationship between the medium, the photographer and the subject as a compulsion or obsession with being able to port between being an insider and an outsider, signifier as well as signified as illustrated by my study of Diane Arbus as an ethnographer, concluding with an invitation to unlearn and take a ride with a ghost that can inhabit an uninhabitable space.
Grant McNulty: New institutions, new expressions: post-apartheid heritage and identity in contemporary Umbumbulu
This is my first attempt at writing a chapter on the production of a kholwa (mission-educated Zulu) history, more specifically, the interlinked history of Desmond Makhanya’s immediate and extended family and Adams College in Umbumbulu. The chapter before this focuses on the traditionalist politics of the Mkhize groups in Umbumbulu.
Thokozani Mhlambi: Though Paper on the Zulu Society Archive in Pietermaritzburg
The current paper represents my first glance at the archive of the Zulu [Cultural] Society, obtained at the Pietermaritzburg regional archives. It forms part of my Phd research project on the early years of black radio broadcasting. Members of the society were very instrumental in initiating the first radio broadcasts in Zulu in the late 1930s, called the War Bulletin. Charles Mpanza, the secretary of the Zulu Society at the time, was the person to present the broadcasts, under the support of the Native Affairs Department. I am hoping that the material presented here will launch my Phd project in an interesting direction, while keeping it focused.
Susana Molins Lliteras: Personalising the Archive / Archiving the Person: Ismael Diadié Haidara and the Fondo Kati Library
I presented my PhD project in a previous APC workshop, which is entitled “Africa starts in the Pyrenees: Mahmud Kati, connecting al-Andalus and Timbuktu. I am doing biography of the Fondo Kati archive library in Timbuktu. My research analyses the complex processes of construction of the Kati archive, the processes through which it came into being and how it became recognized as such. Thus, I am treating the Fondo Ka’ti archive as an historical artefact, analysing both how it is changed by and in turn changes the context in which it finds itself.
As a first year, I have spent the last few month intensely gathering sources, data, interviews, and working on their translations, analysis and contextualization for the thesis. Thus this piece is still very, very raw and is a first attempt to sketch a beginning of what will develop into one of the chapters of the thesis. In this chapter, I want to present a biography of the director of the Kati Library, Ismael Diadié Haidara, who reunited the archive collection and founded the modern-day library. He is a descendant of the Kati family and has profoundly shaped the nature, policies and direction of the Kati archive according to his own vision of his family’s history and role. Thus, I want to argue that his own biography is essential to understand the general biography of the library; the one both shapes and is shaped by the other. This chapter will be based mostly on oral interviews with Ismael and well as on his own writings. Since he is an a key figure in the process of formation of the Kati archive I want to transmit ‘the flavour’ of the person through my writing; thus I have left long passages in his own words (in translation of course) and for now just interspersed some of my own thoughts and analysis which will in future form a coherent argument I hope! I will appreciate any comments and suggestions in particular to see if this writing succeeds in painting a picture of the man and how he has shaped and been shaped by the archive.
Michael Nixon: No title available
Cóilin Parsons: Maps to Modernism: Cartography, Space and Scale in Modern Irish Literature
Maps to Modernism sketches a new history of Irish writing, arguing that a particular strand of Irish literature that we now recognize as modernist has its roots deep in the nineteenth century, in the attempt by the British government to map the entire island of Ireland for the first time. Beginning with the archives of the Ordnance Survey in Ireland (1824-1842), Maps to Modernism argues that this mapping project stands as one of the one of the roots of what Beckett identifies as "the breakdown of the object...rupture of the lines of communication" that modernist artists must recognize and represent.' This cartographic project laid the foundation for a new way of looking at the physical and cultural landscape of Ireland, which recognized, represented, and often resisted the fracturing nature of colonial modernity—I call this way of looking a "double optic," hovering as it does between large and small scales, between colonial governance and nationalist imagining, between Gaelic and English, between local traditions and the demands of capitalist abstraction. In revisiting this foundational but neglected moment, Maps to Modernism plots the intellectual and cultural origins of modernist writing in Ireland, tracing a representational challenge from the Ordnance Survey through James Clarence Mangan's poetry in the 1840s (an early modernist, I argue, which Joyce recognizes), to the prose of John Millington Synge and James Joyce, and finally to the plays of William Butler Yeats and Samuel Beckett. If, as Beckett writes, the task of the modernist artist, in any medium, is to "state the space that intervenes between him and the world of objects," the task of this book is to describe how this space is mediated by cartography and literature." Drawing on literary theory, studies of space, the history of cartography, Irish Studies, and archive theory, the book paints a picture of Irish writing deeply engaged in the representation of a multi-layered landscape.
Mario Pissarra: How Malangatana became a giant
Stripping accolades to discover meaning and reveal substantive value: challenges in re/writing Malangatana
It is common practice to refer to Malangatana as ‘o gigante’ and ‘o mestre’ but does it do justice to his achievements to sing his praises without engaging critically with the content and quality of his work?
This presentation introduces some of the ways in which I hope to contribute towards a critical appreciation of Malangatana. I begin by sketching an emerging theory of how public perceptions of the ‘greatness’ of an artist are constructed, and how the mapping of the elements that constitute this process of validation make it is possible to evaluate in a fairly systematic way how an artist such as Malangatana attains canonical status. Secondly, I wish to share how the recitation of accolades, along with a tendency to make sweeping statements has introduced, at least to me as o estrangeiro, a set of questions about what appear to be silences and contradictions in much of the literature on Malangatana. Finally I present the proposition that if an artist is best understood within their specific historical and social context , then the development of decolonization as a discursive frame introduces fresh possibilities for interpretation, especially of artists (such as Malangatana) whose careers span the colonial and postcolonial periods.
These ideas will be more fully developed over the next few years. They represent key points of enquiry for a doctoral thesis that is in its early stages. The thesis is titled ‘Through the lenses of decolonization: reading colonial and postcolonial Africa in and through the paintings of Sam Ntiro and Malangatana’. It is hoped that the presentation in Maputo of preliminary research (conducted outside of Mozambique) will attract insightful critique and inform more substantive research.
Andrew Putter: Biographical sketch of Duggan Cronin
As a first-year Fine Art Masters candidate, I am currently in the middle of making new photographic work which responds to Duggan-Cronin’s oeuvre. Duggan‐Cronin was a Kimberley-based photographer who worked between 1919 and 1939 to record ‘the Bantu tribes of South Africa.’ In this paper, I present a short biographical sketch of Duggan-Cronin. I have looked at the handful of the most authoritative biographical writings on Duggan-Cronin, and have put together a survey of these writings.
Katharina Schramm: Race, Genealogy and the Genomic Archive in post-apartheid South Africa
This Is a first attempt of thinking about my current research in South Africa. The wider project (based in social anthropology) is concerned with the current use of categories of race and population in science and the narratives of human origins around which several disciplines (genetics, paleoanthropology, physical anthropology, archaeology) converge. I am interested in the life of these categories, in the practices through which they are produced and contested and in the multiple ways in which they travel between science and the public (and vice versa).
Kylie Thomas: Photography, Apartheid and ‘The Road to Reconciliation’: Reading Jillian Edelstein’s ‘Truth and Lies’
The trope of "the road" in order to describe South Africa's transition to democracy is by now a familiar one. The slogan "Truth: The Road to Reconciliation" appeared on the banners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Hearings and continues to appear on the Commission's website. The iconic images of the long queues of voters in the first democratic elections in South Africa photographed from above reinforce this notion of our movement towards freedom as the forging of a shared path towards a liberated future. According to the slogan of the TRC, it is Truth that carries us along this road, moving towards not so much a place but a state of being.
Through an analysis of photographs by Jillian Edelstein of the TRC hearings and related events and of her portraits of both victims and perpetrators, I ask what road we find ourselves on and in what direction we travel when we think about the half-told truths, the untold stories and the lies. Where do they take us, or rather, leave us? I also consider how "the truth" might lead us in directions other than those we anticipated. The paper draws on the writings of Hannah Arendt on Nazi Germany in order to explore "the horror" of apartheid and the psychic mechanism of repression that seems to render us unable to move either towards it or away.
Hedley Twidle: Cape Town, Natural History and the Literary Imagination
No Abstract provided.
John Weinberg: Science, Culture and Memory in South Arica: Indigenous Knowledge Systems in Science Centres
Stop at any South African roadside curio market and you will find a Zulu beaded basket, an Ndebele picture frame and perhaps even a bottle of Hoodia medicine. All three of these vastly commodified items carry a rich and complex history and heritage. To some, they are objects of beauty, to others they are simply a quaint reminder of a gorgeous holiday in the sun and yet to others they might hold profound solutions to scientific conundrums. These three objects are simple examples representing a vast array of knowledge systems and by examining and reflecting on them there is potential for a new understanding of African science to emerge. Of great concern currently is the low science culture prevalent in South Africa. Levels of skills and awareness in relation to Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology (SMET) are not increasing. Fewer learners are pursuing mathematics and science beyond school level. Of equal concern is the number of qualified SMET people who have left and are still leaving South Africa to pursue research and work elsewhere. Why is this so, and what role can science centres play in redressing this complex problem? An understanding and awareness of indigenous knowledge systems among other things can form part of this process of redress and in fact may encourage and inspire an improved science culture. This paper reflects on the current crises and sustainability facing science-related education in South Africa and the potential to redress this via an awareness of our rich and diverse matrix of knowledge systems.
Jill Weintroub: By Small Wagon with Full Tent: Dorothea Bleek’s Journey to Kakia, June to August 2013
Who was Dorothea Bleek?
What was important about her life and scholarship?
Was Dorothea Bleek a scholar in her own right, or someone who merely followed in the footsteps of her famous father and aunt by taking their "bushman researches" out of their Mowbray sitting room and into the twentieth century?
What can be said about the silence or disavowal around her presence in the archive, particularly in light of the great amount of attention that has been paid to her father Wilhelm Bleek, and her aunt Lucy Lloyd, and the celebrated collection of San ethnography contained in the notebooks that were compiled as a result of their "bushman researches" in the 1870s and beyond. These are some of the larger questions that have been part of my ongoing investigation into the life and scholarship of Dorothea Bleek.
My recently published short book (an "appetiser" for a larger and more detailed publication), considers these questions peripherally. I have tried to keep them hovering in the background as I focus in greater detail on an early moment in Dorothea's research process — her ox wagon trip through the Kalahari in 1913. Have I succeeded in piquing attention? Have I managed to produce a piece that is both rigorous in terms of scholarly criteria, but also a readable account of an intrepid trip "into Africa"?
John Wright: Making identities in the Thukela-Mzimbuvu region, c. 1770-c.1940. Notes towards a workshop paper
Since the 1920s and 1930s the African inhabitants of the Thukela-Mzimvubu region have been widely categorized as 'Zulus' in the north and `Xhosas'in the south. The assumptionis that these identities date back into the 'traditional' past. But these categorizations fail to take into account the complex historical processes in which collective identities were produced in the region as least as far back as the late eighteenth century. This paper aimsto examine the best documented of these processes.
Sandy Young: Richard Hakluyt’s compilations and the development of national sensibilities
This chapter forms the second last chapter of my book on sixteenth century exploration literature and early modern ways of knowing. (I've included the chapter outline, below.) In this chapter I examine Richard Hakluyt's early compilations, Divers voyages (1582) and Principall Navigations (1589), with a view to identifying the ways in which the structure of the compilation, with its wide ambit and seemingly compendious orientation to knowledge about the wider world, became available as a mechanism for asserting the increasingly national ambitions and identifications of the period. This orientation to 'knowledge' and to the world `beyond' is evident not only in the compiled narratives themselves, but also in their structuring and prefacing which introduces the New World as eminently knowable,inhabitable and 'abundant', while being necessarily 'different' and `sauage'.
Carine Zaayman: The presence of absence: towards
In preparation for a mid thesis exhibition, I shall use this opportunity within the workshop to present a series of images that feature in my work. These images have been collected in my journeys to the landscapes of Krotoa and Anne Barnard and are profoundly shaped by the notions of ruin and remnant as figurative devices. In the images I look at seeming binaries, such as visibility and invisibility, monument and forgetting, love and loneliness, knowing and the unknown, and familiarity and alienation. The paper will take form as a presentation and open discussion of the images and the way in which they are used to converse with each other.