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Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
SENSORY STUDIES SERIES Series Editor: David Howes ISSN: 2052–3092 As the leading publisher of scholarship on the culture of the senses, we are delighted to present this series of cutting-edge case studies, syntheses and translations in the emergent field of sensory studies. Building on the success of the Sensory Formations series, this new venture provides an invaluable resource for those involved in researching and teaching courses on the senses as subjects of study and means of inquiry. Embracing the insights of a wide array of humanities and social science disciplines, the field of sensory studies has emerged as the most comprehensive and dynamic framework yet for making sense of human experience. The series offers something for every disciplinary taste and sensory inclination. Published Titles: François Laplantine, The Life of the Senses: Introduction to a Modal Anthropology Michael Bull and John P. Mitchell (eds.), Ritual, Performance and the Senses Luca Vercelloni, The Invention of Taste Ian Heywood (ed.), Sensory Arts and Design Alex Rhys-Taylor, Food and Multiculture: A Sensory Ethnography of East London David Le Breton, Sensing the World Constance Classen, The Museum of the Senses Forthcoming Titles: Rupert Cox, The Sound of the Sky Being Torn: A Political Ecology of Military Aircraft Noise
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa Aesthetics of Power Duane Jethro
BLOOMSBURY ACADEMIC Bloomsbury Publishing Plc 50 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3DP, UK 1385 Broadway, New York, NY 10018, USA BLOOMSBURY, BLOOMSBURY ACADEMIC and the Diana logo are trademarks of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc First published in Great Britain 2020 Copyright © Duane Jethro, 2020 Duane Jethro has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as Author of this work. For legal purposes the Acknowledgements on p. viii constitute an extension of this copyright page. Cover image: Detail of cut flowers in Cape Town, South Africa (© Alistair Berg/Getty Images) All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publishers. Bloomsbury Publishing Plc does not have any control over, or responsibility for, any third-party websites referred to or in this book. All internet addresses given in this book were correct at the time of going to press. The author and publisher regret any inconvenience caused if addresses have changed or sites have ceased to exist, but can accept no responsibility for any such changes. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress. ISBN: HB: 978-1-3500-5977-1 ePDF: 978-1-3500-5978-8 eBook: 978-1-3500-5979-5 Series: Sensory Studies Series Typeset by Deanta Global Publishing Services, Chennai, India
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Contents List of Figures Acknowledgements Introduction 1 2 3 4 5
Freedom Park: Visualizing the post-apartheid nation Touching memorials: Ruination, public feeling and the Sunday Times Heritage Project Fragrances and forced removal: Memory, smell and urban displacement in Cape Town Vuvuzela magic: Sound, football and plastic post-apartheid heritage Braai nation: Taste, consumption and South African commemorative days
vi viii 1 25 47 71 97 121
Notes Bibliography Index
161 176 195
Figures All images by the author unless otherwise indicated. 1.1 The Voortrekker Monument, Pretoria 36 1.2 S’khumbuto, Freedom Park, Pretoria, aerial view. Courtesy of Office of Collaborative Architects (OCA), being Mashabane Rose Architects, Gapp Architects and Urban Designers, and MMA architects. The project was a collaborative effort of the above three firms 38 1.3 Freedom Park and the Voortrekker Monument as seen from the Union Buildings, Pretoria. Courtesy of Graham A. Young – Landscape Architect 41 1.4 Freedom Park Reeds at night. Courtesy of Graham A. Young – Landscape Architect 44 2.1 Race Reclassification Board memorial, Cape Town 55 2.2 Republic Day Protest memorial, Durban 59 2.3 Remains of the Nontetha Nkwenkwe memorial, King William’s Town 2010 63 2.4 Tsietsi Mashinini 16 June memorial, Soweto, Johannesburg 67 3.1 Cape Town Floriography, 2016. Curator: Melanie Boehi (Nowseum). Photograph: ‘Flower sellers, Cape Town, 1947’ by J. Luckhoff, courtesy of the Iziko Museums of South Africa, Social History Collections, 2001/781. Poster design: Salma Price-Nell 82 3.2 Cape Town flower seller. Marianne Gordon Collection, District Six Museum 83 3.3 British Cinema, District Six. Courtesy of the Cape Institute for Architecture 90 3.4 Fresh Produce Fish Dealers, Hanover Street Fish Market. Sandra McGregor Collection, District Six Museum 92 4.1 Fans at FIFA World Cup Draw, 2010, Cape Town 98
4.2 Neil van Schalkwyk demonstrating his product to journalists, June 2010 104 4.3 Hyundai FIFA 2010 World Cup vuvuzela, Cape Town 112 5.1 Screenshot, Pick n Pay Ultimate Braai Master reality television show advertisement, accessed 22 September 2014 136 5.2 Screenshot, Woolworths Heritage Day braai advertisement, 23 September 2013 143 5.3 Jan Scannell in Namibia 145 5.4 Book Cover, Jan Braai Democratic Republic of Braai. Courtesy of Bookstorm 149
Acknowledgements The primary research for this book was funded by the Nederlandse Wetenschappelijke Organisatie (NWO) through the project Heritage Dynamics: Politics of Authentication and Aesthetics of Persuasion in Ghana, Brazil, the Netherlands and South Africa led by Birgit Meyer and Mattijs van de Port. I wish to thank them and the rest of the research team for their lively collegiality, comments and suggestions on earlier drafts of this work. I wish to acknowledge the financial support of the National Research Foundation of South Africa for a postdoctoral fellowship I held between 2016 and 2017 at the Archive and Public Culture Research Initiative. I would especially like to thank Carolyn Hamilton, director of the Archive and Public Culture Research Initiative, and the colleagues in the unit for their hospitality and warmth of spirit during the fellowship tenure and a writing sabbatical in Cape Town between December 2017 and February 2018. The ‘Post-Doc Book Forum’, a set of meetings run at the University of Cape Town in 2016, was a wonderful early incubation space for this book. I would like to thank Naomi Roux and Rebecca Swartz as co-organisers for their collaboration in thinking through the logistics, labour, tears and laughter that go into producing a scholarly text. I would like to thank Katharina Schramm of the University of Bayreuth who opened a space in the Anthropology of Global Inequalities colloquium where I participated in some fresh thinking about pressing current topics in anthropology. Sharon Macdonald has been a wonderful host at the Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage, at the Humboldt University, Berlin. I wish to thank her and the CARMHEES for their encouragement of this project and my research in general. I also wish to acknowledge the gracious support of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for granting me a writing sabbatical during my tenure as a Georg Forster Alexander von Humboldt Post-Doctoral Research Fellow between December 2017 and February 2018. I wish to thank David Howes for making space for my work in the Sensory Studies series at Bloomsbury, and for his incisive comments at various stages of the process, which all helped bring the best out of the manuscript. I
would also like to thank Bloomsbury Academic particularly Miriam Cantwell and Lucy Carroll for their excellent editorial support and assistance. Katherine Garrun provided vigorous and careful independent editorial assistance when it came to the final crunch. Many thanks too to my colleagues at the Department of Religious Studies, at the University of Cape Town, my first intellectual home. Longstanding colleagues from the Institute for Comparative Religion in southern Africa, ICRSA, have been an enduring and now transnational source of inspiration, friendship and support. Many thanks to them. My teachers and mentors David Chidester and Birgit Meyer have been an ongoing source of mentorship and encouragement, for which I am ever grateful. In saying that, all the errors that appear here are mine alone. This book has been greatly enriched by the images shared with me from many sources. I would like to thank Bookstorm publishers, Melanie Boehi, the District Six Museum and especially Chrischene Julius, Graham Young and the Office of Collaborative Architects. Their images have been duly credited in the list of figures. With thanks, I would like to acknowledge permission to republish an expanded version of ‘Transgressive Touch: Ruination, Public Feeling and the Sunday Times Heritage Project’, in Bronze Warriors and Plastic Presidents: Public Art in South Africa, edited by Kim Miller and Brenda Schmahmann; and ‘Vuvuzela Magic: Cultural Fashions and the Consumption of “African” heritage’. African Diaspora 7(2). Interspersed in Chapter 5 is a blog post titled ‘World Cup Mania: Beyond the vuvuzela in 2010’ which I first published on the blog site of the Anthropology Department of the Vrije Unversiteit Amsterdam, Standplaats Wereld.
New aspects of social and cultural life are revealed by scholarly inquiry that centres the senses. The possibilities for what a sensory studies approach to cultural life in South Africa may uncover are demonstrated in the historian and journalist Jacob Dlamini’s ruminations about life in the township of Katlehong in Johannesburg during apartheid: ‘To live in a township is to live in a world of the senses. It is to inhabit a world in which one’s nerves are often exposed’ (2009: 115). To depart from the senses, he argues, is the only way of ‘writing feelingly’ about townships – in ‘human terms’ (Dlamini 2009: 115). The township is a vibrant sensory environment punctuated by the potent smell of ‘burst sewerage pipes, the noise of township dogs and taxis, and the tastes of kasi [township] food’ (Dlamini 2009: 118). This world of stimuli is generated by historical conditions that should not overshadow the humanity of township residents who, despite their sometimes deteriorating and sensorialy jarring social conditions, live and make full lives. More specifically, he charges, to acknowledge the sensory world of the township means recognizing the reality of black urban life and the humanity of it’s black residents: ‘To make sense of a South African township’, in other words, ‘is in effect to make sense of the black urban experience’ (Dlamini 2009: 129). Taking up Dlamini’s charge, I argue that, more than provide a fine approximation of the black urban experience in townships, the five senses have the conceptual potential to shift scholarly analysis about what passes as common sense in how we think about cultural life all across South Africa. The world over, the sensory studies scholar David Howes (2005) has observed, the senses provide a refreshing point of entry into social and cultural worlds, in the first instance, because sense experience is both primary and culturally produced. To taste, touch, smell, hear and see are primary modes of perception that are shared by all human beings. Yet sensory experience is culturally varied as different sensory models and languages of sense perception obtain in different places and regions. The values associated with the putrid smell of rotting flesh, for example, can connote either positive or negative responses depending on the
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
histories of exposure and norms around flesh and aroma that prevail in different social settings. Baring the features of universality and distinctiveness, sensory experience carries a conceptual ambiguity that can sharpen our perceptions of how culture is both socially shared and individually experienced. In this book I want to interrogate the entanglements between the senses and time materialized in cultural forms valourized as cultural heritage. Specifically, I bring a sensory studies analysis to bear on cultural heritage making and nationbuilding in post-apartheid South Africa. I track the citation of the senses in cultural projects that involved the construction and positioning of material forms as new heritage during the first two decades of democracy. I show how they were articulated in the framework of the state’s political project to reconcile a racially divided society, foster social cohesion and build the nation. The senses and sensory experience, I argue, were often crucial for successfully staking new heritage formation projects, and heritage and nation-building overall.
Heritage transformation, citizenship and nation-building Heritage has always been linked to the nation and nationalisms of some form. In South Africa heritage was similarly mobilised to cohere an inclusive sense of nationalism. Yet the immediate post-apartheid social, political climate and historical conditions made conventional national bonds difficult to forge. Under apartheid, society was rigidly organized according to an arbitrary and hard to sustain system of racial classification and separation of different groups, with whites at the apex and blacks at the nadir of this invented hierarchy (Posel 2001a). The incorporation of a black majority into a body politic that included a white minority formerly seen as oppressors meant that the political transition to democracy set up a complicated set of tensions between the notions of race, citizenship and nation. For example, while the new Constitution, which was officially adopted in 1996, provided a broad, inclusive political vocabulary that recognized a multitude of cultures, races and ethnicities, incorporating all groups as citizens, it also privileged the historically marginalized black majority. In this non-racial democratic order, race still deeply informs the experience of everyday life in the form of economic inequality and the legacy of spatial apartheid that once designated certain affluent areas for whites only. Race is also formally employed as a criterion for measuring transformation in the employment sector and for implementing policies of social and economic redress. This suggests, as the historian Deborah Posel puts it, ‘the juridical assertion of human sameness
cohabits with existential reiterations of racial difference and separation’ (2001b: 50). According to official contemporary policy instruments such as the Employment Equity Act black refers to all people of colour including black Africans, coloureds and Indians. Official Census data also records racial demographics, using five categories, African, white, coloured, Indian/Asian and Other, that respondents are invited to self-identify with.1 The fraught terms in which the new nation was to be cohered – with Constitutional rights on the one hand and race-based privilege on the other – prompted scholars to be cautious, even suspicious that it could be successfully negotiated (Boyce 1999; van der Berghe 1991; Degenaar 1991, 1994). Yet, there was some agreement that there were grounds for accepting that nascent national sentiments had been triggered in the early post-apartheid period, either as a civic nationalism ‘based on citizenship and equal rights for all residents’ (Moodley and Adam 2000: 54), or patriotism based on the shared historical experience of transition and the collective participation at national sports events (Mattes 1999). Parsed as the collective legacy of the nation, heritage was identified by the state as a cultural domain through which relations between race, dispossession and belonging could be mediated. Until the shift to democracy, cultural representations still largely reflected white, apartheid and colonial era histories. The African National Congress (ANC) government therefore first moved to make the heritage sector, encompassing museums, monuments and memorials, more inclusive. It did so by promulgating new policy instruments that accommodated for the commemoration of a greater diversity of cultural histories, especially previously marginalized black cultural histories. The National Heritage Resources Act Number 25 of 1999, the Public Holidays Act 36 of 1994 and the South Africa Geographical Names Act 118 of 1998 empowered the transformation of heritage institutions, the designation of new place names and commemorative days. This legislation construed heritage as a vehicle for promoting racial transformation, reconciliation and nation-building, that in many ways also concerned structuring a new genealogy of struggle heroes (Marschall 2006). The National Heritage Resources Act declares, for example, that South Africa’s heritage resources played the role of ‘contributing to redressing past iniquities … facilitates healing and material and symbolic restitution’.2 Mobilizing carefully chosen collective pronouns, the National Heritage Resources Act further announced, ‘Our heritage is unique and precious and it cannot be renewed. It helps us to define our cultural identity and therefore lies at the heart of our spiritual well-being and has the power to
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
build our nation. It has the potential to affirm our diverse cultures, and in so doing shape our national character.’3 At least three models of nation could be identified as arising during this time. Perhaps the best know model, that of South Africa as the Rainbow Nation, emphasized a nationalism based on unity in cultural difference, and was reflected in the colourful new symbols of state. An ‘Africanist’ model of nation, which instead emphasized an inclusive, yet black and continentally rooted notion of the nation, was proposed and championed by former Thabo Mbeki from the late 1990s, and found expression, for example, in the Freedom Park national heritage project, which I discuss in Chapter 1. These models of nation would be referenced in uneven and overlapping but roughly successive ways in statesponsored heritage projects from 1994 onwards. Standing in opposition to these top-down models was a kind of ethno-particularism, ‘or the assertion of subnational identities as primary’ where Indian, mixed race and arguably also white Afrikaners, who felt politically and culturally excluded from the state’s dominant model of nation because it appeared to unfairly privilege black Africans, instead agitated for alternate forms of recognition, such as on the basis of minority cultural rights (Bundy 2007: 80). Practices of heritage formation were therefore often directed towards the nation and articulated through the framework of nation-building. Three of the cases I discuss in this book were explicitly aimed at the nation and invoked nation-building rhetoric. Yet two other examples discussed in this book invoked heritage to create forms of belonging at a smaller scale such as a neighbourhood, a suburb or a city, and were mobilized for the working out of more local cultural identities and histories. These cases could also be construed as part of a broader civic culture of contesting the terms in which the nation was construed, mitigating for the public recognition of regional cultural histories that were overshadowed by the state. Nevertheless, whether they approximated the nation or small-scale collectivities, the heritage projects I discuss all evoked sentiments of social unity through the senses and established ways of relating based on shared sensibilities about the past as represented by material cultural forms.
Heritage dynamics My analysis of heritage and the senses is informed by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research project, Heritage Dynamics: Politics of Authentication and Aesthetics of Persuasion in Brazil, Ghana, South Africa and
the Netherlands, led by Birgit Meyer and Mattijs van de Port. As an expansive, international project exploring heritage dynamics in diverse cultural settings, the project was originally inspired by dissatisfaction with the sometimes predictable sets of conclusions offered by constructivist approaches in the humanities and social sciences. Constructivist arguments the project leaders contend ‘presents as a conclusion its finding that the history is “assembled”, the community is ‘imagined’, the ‘tradition’ is invented or the identity is “staged”’ (Meyer and van de Port 2018: 2). Such an approach could lead to ‘conclusions and closures, rather than incentives to ask new questions’ about culture, history and heritage (Meyer and van de Port 2018: 3). The project leaders therefore shifted their focus away from questions about how cultural identity is invented to how ‘traditions, communities and identities come to be experienced as really real’ (Meyer and van de Port 2018: 4). Cultural heritage presents as self-evidently real, as a ‘denial of being merely made up’, and harbours the seductive ‘promise to provide an essential ground to social-cultural identities’ (Meyer and van de Port 2018: 6). This makes it an alluring discourse to found claims about identity upon. Mobilizing cultural heritage discourses enables groups ‘to convince themselves and others’ that their ‘histories, identities and traditions’ were not invented (Meyer and van de Port 2018: 2). Yet, inherent in their denial of being made up, heritage claims also risk being exposed as fabrications as they are almost always staked in social contexts where counter-discourses also prevail. These contests are made all the more fraught in a context like South Africa where histories of racial division and economic inequality increase suspicion about whose interests heritage projects serve. It is precisely for this reason, that is, that heritage has the appearance of being definitive while also inviting disputation, that Meyer and van de Port have singled it out as an ideal area in which to explore how cultural worlds are produced and identities lived beyond scholarly concerns with social construction. To further their analysis of the cultural production of the real in heritage settings, Meyer and van de Port propose two new concepts, namely, the politics of authentication and the aesthetics of persuasion. The politics of authentication – which takes ‘as a starting point that authenticity is not an essence to be discovered in a particular form of cultural heritage but a quality produced in such a form’ – enables one to analyse how heritage producers style and authorize their projects as authentic in contested social arenas (Meyer and van de Port 2018: 6). The concept of the aesthetics of persuasion allows one to ‘describe how heritage is appropriated and embodied in lived experience’ beyond the persuasive styling, form and rhetoric of heritage producers (Meyer and van de Port 2018: 6).
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
At this point it is perhaps useful to illustrate in a little more detail what precisely is meant by the concepts of the authentic and aesthetics, what their conceptual genealogies are, to substantiate in more detail as to how they will be useful for analysing heritage formation practices in South Africa. For the anthropologist Charles Lindholm, a cultural form such as a work of art can be considered authentic if it displays similitude between its form and content, or as Lindholm puts it, ‘their essence and appearance are one’ (2008: 2). Furthering his argument of authenticity as congruence, he says there are ‘two overlapping modes for characterizing an entity as authentic: genealogical or historical (origin) and identity or correspondence (content)’ (Lindholm 2008: 2). Genealogical methods of validation refer to establishing the provenance of a cultural form, while correspondence refers to whether the content of the work displays the idiosyncratic flourishes associated with its producer. Lindholm’s uncontroversial and perhaps widely accepted definition of authenticity can be traced back through Lionel Trilling’s work On Sincerity and Authenticity (1973), to Jean Jacques Rouseau’s philosophy about the primacy of the natural self and the right to be true to one’s own desires for one’s own sake. Yet, upon critical scrutiny, this notion of authenticity as congruence appears less convincing as a foundation for nuanced analysis of how cultural forms may present as true. Among other things, it takes for granted forms of evidence such as texts and expertise as authoritative and forecloses the possibility that heritage forms can present as authentic when they don’t meet the evidentiary criteria, as in when they feel or are practised and lived as true but appear to be fake. More importantly, it does not take into account the wider social conditions that enable or stymie appeals to and about authenticity. This suggests that, as Meyer and van de Port indicate, one pay attention to how and when authenticity is invoked as a stake in heritage formation processes and how producers go about styling their heritage projects as convincing. This highlights that authenticity is primarily about contestation rather than validation. In this frame Meyer and van de Port (2018) point out that heritage contestations often turn on questions of legitimacy that concern which heritage forms are valid representations of histories worth remembering. Authenticity, in Meyer and van de Port’s conception, is therefore ‘not intrinsic to cultural forms … but a quality attributed to such forms in particular socio-political configurations’ (2018: 19). The evocation of a convincing sense of authenticity therefore does not merely depend on the substantiated assertion of certain claims. Addressees need to recognize and internalize the significance of heritage propositions. In this way, a sense of authenticity is ‘an essence … evoked in beholders through shared sensations and experiences with regard to forms of cultural heritage’ (Meyer and
van de Port 2018: 16). The concept of the politics of authentication is therefore also imputed with a concern with how heritage producers try elicit recognition from addressees through styling compelling assertions that entangle sensing subjects with material heritage forms, where ‘subjects become emotionally and sensually entangled with heritage objects’ (Meyer and van de Port 2018: 15). Aesthetics of persuasion, on the other hand, refers to how heritage formations, whether material cultural forms, traditions or practices, register as convincing in embodied sensorial experience. This concept of experiential appeal is derived from Birgit Meyer’s conceptual work on the powerful, transcendent possibilities afforded by religious material culture and how the practices directed towards and in relation to them evoke and renew the presence of the divine. She has coined the concept aesthetic formations to describe ‘the convergence of processes of forming subjects and the making of communities – as social formations’ (Meyer 2009: 7). Moreover, it refers to the ‘formative impact of a shared aesthetics through which subjects are shaped by tuning their senses, inducing their experiences, molding their bodies and making senses, and which materialises in things’ (Meyer 2009: 7). She has also coined the concept of sensational forms to refer to the centrality of practices, performances and routines directed towards and in relation to material culture to structure sensory experience and access to the divine. Sensational forms are ‘authorized modes for invoking and organizing access to the level of the spiritual that shape both religious content and norms’, that form part of ‘a specific kind of religious aesthetics, which governs a sensory engagement of humans with the divine and each other and generates particular sensibilities’ (Meyer 2009: 22). The concept of the aesthetics of persuasion, developed in the context of Meyer’s innovative conceptual vocabulary, therefore, implies a nuanced framing of the important role of embodied sensorial experience for mediating heritage forms’ presentation of an essential essence. Her revival of the aesthetic for social formation is rooted in a conceptual genealogy that centres the sensuous and the senses and breaks down the distinction between embodied experience and the material world. It moves away from the commonly accepted Kantian notion of the aesthetic as the distant, cognitive and pleasurable experience of beauty, especially associated with art. She draws on the Aristotelian concept of aesthesis to refer to ‘a more encompassing, embodied understanding of aesthetics’ (2009: 6). Aesthesis captures ‘our corporeal capability on the basis of a power given in our psyche to perceive objects in the world via our five different sensorial modes … and at the same time a specific constellation of sensations as a whole’ (Meyer and Verrips 2008 cited in Meyer 2009: 6). Aesthesis therefore charges the
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
notion of the aesthetic with an entangled conception of bodies, sensing and the material world: to ‘our total sensory experience of the world and our sensitive knowledge of it’ (Meyer 2009: 6). It is worth remarking that the aesthetic does not emerge or operate in a vacuum. As the philosopher Jacques Rancière (2010) has argued, the social order is organized according to the variable distribution of the sensible.4 The distribution of the sensible, he says, is ‘the system of self-evident facts of sense perception that simultaneously discloses the existence of something in common and the delimitations that define the respective parts and positions within it’ (2010: 7). In my discussion of heritage formation in South Africa, I set out both what is understood to be common and the delimitations of sense perception as culturally shared yet also contested. I reveal them to be practices exercised in conditions where the ability to sense was often unevenly distributed and carried real material effects. Sensing is political in the context of heritage making in South Africa. The Heritage Dynamics frame of analysis therefore called attention to the investments heritage producers made to try and assure the legitimacy of their projects on the one hand and how addressees could take up and enact the reality of these claims in spite of their sometimes dubious factual premises on the other. The concepts of the politics of authentication and the aesthetics of persuasion enable fresh analysis of cultural heritage as a phenomenon that is at once produced but also embodied and experienced as self-evidently real – experiences which are no doubt also open to contestation. To get a fuller grasp of the role of experience, and sensory experience in particular, in heritage formation practices in the following section I discuss and situate this book in current sensory studies literature.
Sensory studies I advance a sense-based interpretation of the formation of material cultural heritage. Taking this position, I add to the burgeoning field of sensory studies, which is distinguished by its focus on the social formation of the senses and the diversity of sensory experience across cultures and historical periods (Howes 2018). As the cultural historian Constance Classen put it in her text, ‘Foundations for an Anthropology of the Senses’, When we examine the meanings vested in different senses and sensations across cultures: we find a cornucopia of potent sensory symbolism. Sight may be
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
appropriating and assigning positive values to the cluster of traits conventionally regarded as negative. Howes and Classen observe that this is evident in the ‘“Black is beautiful” movement that countered stereotypes of African bodies as unattractive, or in the characterization of the working classes as being ‘down-to-earth’ – honest and practical – rather than lowly and dirty. Such reversals of the values attached to sensory markers [are] as much directed to boosting the self-image of the marginalized group itself as they are to improving its public image’ (Howes and Classen 2014: 77).
Sense perception is clearly political, permeating the operation of politics at the highest level of office. In their chapter ‘The Politics of Perception’, Howes and Classen (2014) present a wide-ranging analysis of how sensory symbols and rituals are appropriated by modern states to serve the purposes of nationbuilding. In doing so, they show how very local practices that hold the potential for widespread appeal, such as musical forms, dances and cuisines, may be taken up and imbued with new national significance. Bodies, senses and experience are crucial elements in the refashioning and up-scaling of these cultural forms. They use the example of how ‘the hopak dance of the Cossacks became the national dance of the Ukraine, the tango of Buenos Aires the national music and dance of Argentina, and Devonshire cream tea became a British culinary institution’ (Howes and Classen 2014: 72). They argue that the principal behind these forms of cultural production, ‘which formed a key element of Romantic nationalism, was that such patterned sensations made visible, audible, tangible or gustible, the national ‘soul’ or ‘ethos’’ (Howes and Classen 2014: 72). More than just recruiting existing sensory symbols and cultural practices, modern states also create and institutionalize new forms of representation in the interests of forging national identities. This is especially the case, as with South Africa, after long periods of social division, when new, unifying signs, symbols and practices of nation have to be discovered, developed and deployed. At one level, this concerns forms such as national flags, anthems and maps. Maps are particularly significant in this connection, for ‘the map of the state, along with being a practical scale model of a nation’s geography, provided a potent symbol of territorial integrity, sovereign power, and enclosing boundaries. As an iconic model the national map made the extent and integrity of the state not just a matter of hearsay to people who knew little of the distant places and peoples it encompassed, but of seeming visual evidence’. (Howes and Classen 2014: 72)
Other sensory studies scholars have also been turning their attention to what Howes and Classen call the ‘biopolitics of the senses’ or what Davide Panagia (2010) refers
to as the ‘political life of sensation’. For example, in Senses and Citizenship, Susanna Trnka (2013: 1) and her colleagues focus on the significance of ‘the sensorial aspects of citizenship as an essential facet of political power, collective ideologies, and citizen subjectivities’. The editors introduce the concept of ‘sensory citizenship’, or ‘the points at which sensory being mediates and is mediated by state and other forms of citizenship’ to ground their discussion (Trinka, Dureau and Park 2013: 1; see also Masiello 2018; Cox, Irving and Wright 2016). Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa ties in with and contributes to the increasing scholarly interest in the political life of the senses by virtue of its focus on the question of how the senses frame debate about the social, the past and heritage. But it is distinct in being principally concerned with analysing how different constituencies are often approximated as a nation, or contest their belonging, by employing different sensory infused languages of social and heritage formation. Furthermore, in this book I draw on and contribute to another key theme in the sensory studies literature, namely the relationship between the sensuous and the material. As David Howes observes, ‘Material culture studies has tended to overlook the multisensory properties of materiality’ (2006: 169). Identifying the sensuous in the material, as is conveyed by the notion of the aesthetic cited earlier, may among other things reveal ‘new uses and meanings [of material cultural forms] on account of their sensual qualities’ (Howes 2006: 167), as well as how such meanings may change over time. ‘Every artefact embodies a particular sensory mix’, David Howes (2006: 167) insists. This point is well illustrated by Constance Classen’s (2017) book, The Museum of the Senses: Experiencing Art and Collections, which delivers a sensitized history of art museums as heritage institutions. Classen unpacks the sensually rich ways in which people interacted with art and other collectibles in seventeenth and eighteenth-century museums. She shows how museums bordered on ‘sensory gymnasia’, with visitors feeling not the least compunction about hefting, sniffing and occasionally even chewing on exhibits. Adding to this growing conversation about the relationship between cultural heritage, materiality and the senses, Athinodoros Chronis argues that cultural heritage can be ‘conceptualised as an embodied remembering of sensory experiences’ (2006: 269). He proposes further that ‘it might be possible that material artefacts are carriers of collective memories and provide the medium through which sensory experiences of the past are transmitted to the present generation’ (2006: 270). The senses have always occupied an important place in heritage settings, shifting and changing in relevance and significance with the unfolding of modernity. For example, the cultural sensory history of heritage shows that
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
touch was the primary sensory modality for interpreting the significance of objects for most of the eighteenth century in museum settings (Classen 2005). But this changed in the nineteenth century. Museums were increasingly seen as providing a civic education to the illiterate at roughly the same time that new display technologies such as lighting and glass cases became more fashionable, which, in combination meant that museum rules cultivated a new kind of museum going comportment that privileged hearing and sight as the primary sensory modalities for knowledge acquisition in these institutions (Bennett 1995). In the final chapter of The Museum of the Senses, entitled ‘The Museum Retouched’, Classen (2017) observes that the sense of touch is being recovered in museum spaces partly in response to indigenous communities demanding direct, tactile access to their material cultural heritage when it continues to be housed in a museum (Classen and Howes 2006) and to attempts to include, rather than exclude, the visually impaired (Candlin 2010) as well as to cultivate a different ‘interactive’, dare I say hands on, sense of knowledge acquisition through curatorial strategies that emphasize visitor engagement (Black 2005). Grasping the sensuous in the material, this book pays careful attention to the sensory matrices in which objects are situated, and foregrounds the kinds of local sensory cultures and sensibilities they evoke and how they thread through new heritage claims. By adopting this material and sense-based approach, this book does not mean to imply the wholesale abandonment of symbolism or discourse as valid sources of data. Nor does it mean a radical turn to ontology. Rather it means looking at how and in what ways the material qualities of things, or sensory properties of stuff influences the possibilities for rendering discourses and symbols sensible. As the subtitle title of this book suggests then, aesthetics of power refers to material forms positioned as heritage and their sensorial resonances as authoritative but also contested representations of the past. Against the backdrop of this international sensory studies literature, it is notable that there is a paucity of scholarly work on and about the senses in the South African academe, with certain notable exceptions. For example, Senses of Culture edited by Sarah Nuttal and Cheryl-Ann Michael (2000) takes up an interdisciplinary analysis of culture and politics at a crucial juncture just after South Africa’s transition to democracy, and specifically engages with how, at the time, culture was being made and remade within the racially fraught early posttransition period. One basic theoretical thrust of the text was its aim ‘to explore not only the pre-eminence of the visual, but to turn to other senses’ that emerged in their set of case studies, ‘as new spaces for understanding cultural practise’ (Nuttal and Michael 2000: 18). This sensory focus was, however, subsumed by a
broader argument about cultural spaces as fostering different kinds of social and cultural hierarchies during apartheid as prescribed by normative views of history as narrowly pitched between state oppression and the struggle for liberation. One could say the contributors took leave of the senses at precisely the point at which they had discovered they were significant for a post-apartheid cultural analysis. By contrast, the anthropologist Rosabelle Boswell (2008) of Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth takes the senses seriously. She has documented the relationships between fragrance, heritage and identity in Zanzibar, demonstrating among other things local olfactory registers and their social significance for rites of passage, religion and identity, but also the significance of scent as a form of intangible heritage that is widespread in the Indian Ocean world. In her article ‘Sensuous Stories in the Indian Ocean islands’, she turns her attention to a local sensory epistemology that turns the act of listening into a kind of sense (Boswell 2017). The religious studies scholar David Chidester of the University of Cape Town is another leading sensory studies scholar with his work on ‘American Touch’ (2005) in The Book of Touch, and his article ‘Zulu Dreamscapes: Senses, Media and Authentication in Contemporary Neo-Shamanism’ (2008) that cut a new path in showing relationships between religion and the senses. As I have already indicated, the historian and journalist Jacob Dlamini’s book Native Nostalgia (2009) has served as a source inspiration for the present book. Dlamini engages a post-apartheid politics of memory concerning what it might mean for black South Africans to remember the apartheid past with fondness, and the sensory registers coded into those recollections and their significance for the recovery of subjectivity and belonging post apartheid. Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa therefore arrives in a context with a scarcity of sustained sensory studies research and makes a significant contribution in this area by illuminating sensory dynamics at play in practices of material cultural production.
Heritage, heritage studies and heritage formation In this book I engage with an international body of heritage studies theory and literature through a Heritage Dynamics frame of analysis, using the concepts of the politics of authentication and the aesthetics of persuasion and apply it in the South African context. The various strands of the Western genealogy of heritage suggest that the concept is intimately bound up with the emergence of nationalisms and nation states in Europe. As the literature studies scholar Brenda
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Schildgen (2008: 123) explains, for example, ‘It was the [French] Revolution that gave birth to the idea of public, collective interest and to the radical idea that French monuments with either an artistic or historical value belong to the nation and provide pleasure and education for the citizens of France.’ It is from the French that we inherit the idea of heritage as patrimony, or ‘what one receives as a citizen as inheritance from the previous age’ (Schildgen 2008: 126). Moreover, she highlights how the French contributed the notion of the museum as an institution containing objects of invaluable worth for the nation: the French Re into national cultural memory when art and artefacts were wrenched from their erstwhile places in churches, castles, and private collections to find a new home in the national museum’ (2008: 127). The cultural studies scholar Stuart Hall (2005) affirms this proposition when he says the following of British heritage: it is the ‘material embodiment of the spirit of the nation, a collective representation of the British version of tradition, a concept pivotal to the lexicon of English virtues’ (2005: 24; original emphasis). Both Hall and Schildgen introduce us to a classic conception of heritage as apparently inherently valuable property that is the collective possession of the nation. We can trace at least two genealogies of the notion of heritage in South Africa. One genealogy suggests that heritage first registered as material culture and the built environment that represented white English and Afrikaner history and tradition. This notion arrived from Britain through arts and crafts movements and was then used to galvanize a united white nationalism in the years leading up to the institution of the Union of South Africa in 1910 (Merrington 1998/1999). This notion of heritage as material culture would be extended in the early twentieth century with the passing of legislation such as the National Historical Monuments Act of 1923 and the Natural and Historical Monuments, Relics and Antiquities Act of 1934 which empowered the establishment of a series of oversight bodies charged with the task of cataloguing and conserving South African material culture, such as monuments, archaeological sites and relics. A second genealogy can be related to concerns about the trafficking in the relics and remains of black indigenous peoples. The Bushman’s Relics Act of 1911, the first piece of heritage legislation passed in South Africa, was meant to embargo trade in remains and relics of the Khoi and San, which had been heavily trafficked under dubious circumstances to Europe, apparently for purposes of scientific analysis (Legassick and Rassool 1999). The archaeologist Nick Shepherd (2008) has deftly elaborated on these instrumentalist notions of heritage as a national policy discourse, revealing how its instrumentalist
evolutions paralleled ruling political formations and disciplinary change in archaeology over the course of the twentieth century. Overall, South African genealogies of the concept of heritage reflect how it was originally intended to facilitate the entrenchment of dominant white nationalisms but also filtered through the scholarly enterprise related to the excavation and classification of material culture following the institution of the modern South African state after the turn of the twentieth century. As a field of study, the heritage studies scholar Laurajane Smith (2011) points out, scholars pioneering the study of heritage as a distinct phenomenon framed heritage as indexing the basic features of nation, land and belonging, and emphasized its availability for political manipulation. She cites David Lowenthal’s 1985 text, The Past is a Foreign Country, as showing how English post-World War II heritage policy framed the past in material preservationist terms on the one hand and exploitative economic terms by the recreation and tourism industry on the other. There were other contributors to this kind of early theorizing. For example, Patrick Wright, in his 1985 book, On Living in the Old Country, looked at the public’s fascination with the British past and the spread of the preservation and conservation discourses that flowed from mainstream, non-scholarly ideas of heritage. As a further contribution to this body of early literature, Robert Hewison’s 1987 book, The Heritage Industry, posited the burgeoning of a commercial complex that generated seemingly kitsch consumer products whose only value proposition was that they catalogued some kind of romantic national past. For Lowenthal, Hewison and Wright, heritage was seen as a kind of false history co-opted by the state and the forces of the market for purposes of commercial exploitation and political control. This utilitarian idea of heritage as a suspect mode of representing the past still permeates the underpinnings of some sociological heritage studies research (Tunbridge and Ashworth 1996; Graham, Ashworth and Tunbridge 2000, 2005). I cite these examples because these texts are often invoked as the founding body of literature for heritage studies, a vast field of research that attends to the study of the past manifest in heritage sites, museums, monuments, artefacts and cultural practices. Having roots in many disciplinary homes, heritage studies flourishes today as an open, distinct area of study. Despite scholarly reservations about how readily available heritage discourses are for manipulative political projects, heritage is a burgeoning, current cultural phenomenon that only grows in popularity as a language for defining people, places, things and cultures as bearing pasts worth conserving. This contemporary scholarly approach, however, remains captured by a focus on the
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built environment, such as ancient buildings and sites and valued art objects and artefacts. Heritage oversight bodies have played an important role in circulating the association between heritage and the built environment. The World Heritage Council, for example, most often places emphasis on monuments, buildings and sites as forms of heritage that ‘are increasingly threatened with destruction not only by the traditional causes of decay, but also by changing social and economic conditions’.5 Under the auspices of defending important patrimonial legacies for humanity, UNESCO carries out the work of developing expertise and institutions to be able to identify, manage and care for heritage at risk. It has a stridently preservationist approach that while beneficial for the ‘rescuing’ of cultural forms in places where financial resources were lacking or for stimulating tourism through its work, it has also faced fierce criticism for overemphasizing the heritage significance of the built environment and ossifying cultures despite their being fluid and open to shifts and change (Meskell 2018). In response to this preservationist public institutional culture enforcing heritage, Laura Jane Smith has called for a critical heritage studies, a contested (see Witz, Rassool and Minkeley 2017) approach that questions and critiques institutional practice and preservationist centred approaches to heritage advocated by oversight bodies like UNESCO. These approaches, she argues, infer the inherent rather than cultural value of material things, privilege expertise for the management of thereof and draw on and reproduce a consensual vision of nations and nationalism. It is partly out of this call that the Association of Critical Heritage Studies was founded, as a collective of scholars who pursue research that advances critical research on UNESCO style developmental heritage policies and furthers the contemporary study of heritage as a cultural phenomenon. Heritage has and is expanding as a cultural phenomenon, an institutional interest and scholarly area of study. Entering this field, I take a critical, yet open-ended view on the notion of heritage. In one sense I am interested in how, where, when and especially who invokes the term and its analogues and how it is taken up in practice. I am particularly concerned with how heritage is materialized and demarcated as valid and worthy of special attention. I am therefore interested in practices of heritage formation which denotes a distinct set of ideas about heritage. Heritage formation refers to the casting of material cultural forms as heritage through practices that set these objects apart at the centre of social relations and maintain their significance as arresting registers of the past for the ‘hailing’ (Hall 1996) of collective identities. Here, formation refers to ‘both a social entity (as in social formation) – thus designating community – and to processes of forming’
(Meyer 2009: 7). My use of the term ‘heritage’ is rooted in the idea that it is a ‘social and cultural performance … which people actively, often self-consciously, and critically engage in’ through developing interpretations of the past on the basis of engagements with material culture (Smith 2011: 23). These processes of forming generate a surplus of meaning, extra-significance, an excess that is often identified as an indicator of the sacred. This notion of forming heritage also implies a set of relations between the senses and materiality, relations that have been implied by the anthropologist Daniel Miller when he says, ‘Through dwelling on the more mundane sensual and material qualities of the object, we are able to unpick the subtler connections with cultural lives and values that are objectified through these forms’ (1998: 9). Elizabeth Edwards and her colleagues have pursued such an analysis, looking at the ways ‘material culture and the social relations invested in it have been have been mis-apprehended through clashes of sensory systems in the colonial encounter’, and how museums have institutionalized ‘Western assumptions about how we apprehend objects through cultural processes’ (Edwards, Gosden and Phillips 2006: 3). Paying attention to how the mundane sensual and material qualities of objects are valourized in processes of positioning material cultural forms as heritage, this book pays careful attention to the fullness of material cultural forms and the multiple cultural significations they may engender, and adds to a wave of literature that marks the material turn in the humanities (Bennett and Joyce 2013; Coole and Frost 2010; Tilley et al. 2006). Approaching heritage from the perspective of its formation segues with a body of South African literature that has documented the efflorescence of new heritage projects and the broader transformations in historical representation in public life during the post-apartheid period. Reflecting the wide scope of heritage and its equivalents, this is a large body of literature linked to many disciplines. Here I would like to discuss a few key texts to provide an overview of some of this literature the important themes that have arisen so far. Annie Coombes’ (2003) book History After Apartheid provides an important analysis of the ways material forms represented the past, whether monuments, memorials, museums or sites of memory. She addresses how visual cultural forms and public arts interventions were positioned to negotiate the challenge of representing the past and contributed to social transformation during South Africa’s transition to democracy, arguing that representations ‘of new public histories are both produced by and effectively inform changing definitions of “community” and “nation” during periods of political transition where such
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concepts become crucial stakes in the resolution or management of social conflict or renewal’ (2003: 1). Moving into museum spaces, Steven Dubin’s (2009: 4) cheekily titled text, Mounting Queen Victoria, turned attention to ‘a broad range of museums, from those focusing upon art, cultural history, natural science, and natural history, to agriculture, military matters and traditional crafts’ and how curators tried to come to terms with the material and ideological legacies of colonialism and apartheid that troubled their collections. He demonstrates how the challenge of the shift to a new political dispensation was practically negotiated through new curatorial practices and the fostering of new more inclusive institutional cultures. Landscape of Memory, authored by the art historian Sabine Marschall, is explicitly described as following on from Annie Coombes’ History After Apartheid on the basis of its ‘centrality of … focus on representing the past and the controversies surrounding such representation’ (2010a: 2). Marschall contends that the role of commemorative monuments is ‘to induce purposeful remembrance in the interest of forging a particular historical consciousness and shaping collective memory upon which group identity can be based’ (2010a: 2). Landscape of Memory is distinctive from Coombes’ in attending exclusively to ‘commemorative monuments, memorials and public statuary’ erected post apartheid (2010a: 2). The urban geographer Martin J. Murray (2013) also engages with how a diverse series of commemorative projects were positioned as being worthy of recognition in his book Commemorating and Forgetting, analysing their significance according to a mnemonic calculus that weighs up how many and what kind of representations of the colonial and apartheid past should be retained for purposes of learning and education versus their ‘erasure’ in service of the nation-building project. Significantly, both Marschall and Murray draw on memory studies as their analytical framework (2010a, 2013). This is noteworthy, and here, I need to remark that I also take inspiration from memory studies literature. I am especially attracted to its emphasis on how recollection is an active process that involves cultural practices, how memories can be materially based or take material form, and relatedly, how practices of mediation are implicated in framing versions of the past (see Erll and Rigney 2009) and how practices of recollection may cohere collectivities (Connerton 1989). But I also take heed of some of the conceptual challenges posed by the concept of memory that ask, among other things, how we can make accurate distinctions between memory and notions of culture (Berliner 2005), or myth (Gedi and Elam 1996) as well as history (Megill 1998).
Community museums, small institutions recovering and representing the past of groups bounded by small geographical delimitations, have been fruitful loci for unpacking contested local historical claim making. For example, the architect Noëleen Murray and the historian Leslie Witz (2014) take a single case study to observe the museum effects that arise when a community seeks to publically stake a claim to its history. They worked with the migrant labour community of Lwandle, just outside of Cape Town, and assisted with the establishment of a migrant labour museum that contributed to transforming what was a temporary housing estate into an established community. The project documented relations between home making and museum making and how historical knowledge was claimed and advanced by a community that the apartheid state had tried to prevent from coming into existence. Writing about the relationships between the discipline of history and heritage, the authors demonstrate how historians have developed rich, critical analysis of the significance of heritage as a form of public historical knowledge. A similar line of analysis is pursued in Unsettled History, authored by Witz, Rassool and Minkeley (2017), who approach heritage projects as examples of public histories, sites where the legitimate historical knowledge is contested and negotiated and as a field that opens up to disputation scholarly expertise and authority over claims to historical knowledge. Applying a methodology they call ‘engaged public history’, the authors analyse a selection of historical genres, official and unofficial, that are mobilized by different producers of history, who cohere and compete with each other about knowledge about the past (Witz, Rassool and Minkeley 2017: 7). Taking heed of these sometimes collaborative, but always critical approaches to heritage as a form of public historical knowledge, I take concerns with how heritage formation is an open arena of appropriation and engagement forward in this book. The notion of archive is a crucial analogue for heritage in South Africa. Denoting accumulated collections of materials organised by a system of classification, archives register as a particular store of, and mode for, accessing the past. Carloyn Hamilton, director of the Archive and Public Culture Research Initiative at the University of Cape Town, has made a significant contribution to thinking about the possibilities of, and the ways in which archives constitute notions of South African pasts. Taking the position that ‘archives, and other preservatory forms, are artefacts, with linked practices and processes, forged and continually refashioned in the crucible of ongoing social and political life’ (2013: 5), she has contributed to critically theorizing archives as a conceptual space for the constitution of the past (Hamilton et al. 2002), reflected on the conditions and social significance of state archives and archival practice, and
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also contributed to analysis of how archive figures in the production of history and the construction of indigenous subjectivities (1998, 2015; Hamilton and Leibhammer 2016). I draw inspiration from this approach to the past, adopting the view that, in sometimes very literal ways, heritage forms stand as archives of the senses and public feeling.
Chapters Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa analyses the place of the senses in heritage making across five substantive chapters, each of which addresses a distinct heritage project and one dominant sensory modality. As such I have adopted a five-sense model as a structure upon which to hang my discussion which has proven useful for organizing other cultural histories of the senses put forward by, among others, the historian of the senses Mark M. Smith (2007). Mapped on the five senses, the chapters of the book discuss sight, touch, smell, hearing and taste, respectively, while taking the entanglement and interaction of all the senses as an implied point of departure. I also draw inspiration from the religious studies scholar David Chidester’s (2012) analysis of heritage production and public education in South Africa. He argues that if we consider that heritage has been managed by the state and also significantly mobilized by the market, these seemingly competing engagements could constitute dealings in the sacred. If one adopts a Durkheimein reading that sees the sacred as that which is set apart at the centre of social relations, the sacred is invested with the power to generate social cohesion but also stoke social conflict in contests to seize and control it. If we take heritage formation to denote ‘the processes where out of the sheer infinite number of things, places and practices that have been handed down from the past, a selection is made that is qualified as a precious and irreplaceable resource, essential to personal and collective identity and necessary for self-respect’ (Lowenthal 2005: 81 as cited in Meyer and van de Port 2018: 1), then heritage forms qualify for the designation of the sacred. A political economy of the sacred construed by the struggle over power in materialized form contested between the market and the state, is therefore a crucial feature of heritage formation and nation-building in South Africa (Chidester 2012). Ordering my reading of heritage formation projects according to this logic of the sacred helps to bring greater clarity to how heritage is produced but also contested in the tense space between two dominant social forces struggling over its social significance.
Chapter 1 addresses vision, visuality, material culture and time. The chapter takes Freedom Park, a monumental state-sponsored heritage complex, as its case study. One of the state’s most ambitious and costly heritage projects, Freedom Park was built to mark its claim to and about South Africa’s heritage narrative and advance egalitarian, reconciliatory values central to the state’s nation-building project. This chapter focuses on the history of the project’s conceptualization and construction and outlines its significance as a real material structure and cultural representation, as a heritage form, that emerged out of and in relation to state rhetoric about visuality and the past. I argue that Freedom Park’s formation was meant to articulate a complex of visuality that asserted vision as the primary sensibility for the nation to access knowledge about the past. The chapter concludes by showing how, despite the great investment made by the state, it had a lack of local visibility, as indicated by low visitor numbers. This may suggest the greater importance of other visual modes of apprehension orientated to the present and the everyday rather than the distant past. Chapter 2 discusses touch, public feeling and popular commemorative media using the example of the Sunday Times Heritage Project (STHP), which comprised of a series of site-specific memorials erected across South Africa as part of the eponymously named newspaper’s centenary celebrations. This was a collaborative, philanthropic civic project funded by a privately owned media company. Whether through neglect or vandalism, after roughly five years, the majority of the memorials built as part of the project lay in ruin. The chapter draws on Laura Anne Stoler’s (2013) notion of ruination to analyse a selection of four vandalized memorials to deduce what it may say about the relationship between the Sunday Times and the publics it attempted to address. I argue that ruination is analytically helpful because it frames a conceptual and sensory interface, through both the physical act and conceptual notion of touch, between humans and valued material cultural forms. Moreover, I show that it gives some insight into public feeling about the narratives being commemorated. The chapter therefore explores the public reception of the STHP memorials according to the notions of ruination, public feeling and the sense of touch. Fragrance, smell, nostalgia and urban displacement comprise the main themes of Chapter 3. It discusses how subaltern recollections of fragrances, flowers and food feature in memories of victims of apartheid era urban displacement and land restitution and heritage claims in contemporary Cape Town. Using memories of groups from areas of forced removal like District Six, the chapter shows how fragrances, smells and aromas form an important part of evictees’ nostalgic conception of home and community before their forced
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removal. These memories also challenge the official, derogatory characterization of these predominantly black areas as foul smelling, contaminated and in need of sanitation, which was a primary justification for forced eviction, demolition and relocation. Linking the nose and nostalgia in stories of urban displacement and return, I therefore show how smell memories were an important sensory register anchoring heritage claims based on communal memory and the land restitution processes linked thereto. Chapter 4 tunes in to sound and popular culture. It discusses how and in what ways a popular plastic horn, the vuvuzela was produced, circulated and consumed in the context of the FIFA 2010 World Cup. The chapter shows how different stakeholders with distinct, yet interrelated interests in the tournament helped promote the vuvuzela as a distinctly African, South African instrument, and how the instrument’s distinctive sound became an important arena of contestation but also authenticated representations of the continent and nation. Taking the embodied reverberations of sound seriously, the chapter discusses how claims to and about African and South African subjectivity were viscerally experienced as sound, and how the heritage claims about the vuvuzela were made to appear natural and common. Paying careful attention to its loud, reverberate sound, I will show how the vuvuzela was positioned as a heritage form in the context of the FIFA 2010 World Cup and how that process of construction concerned the mediation and negotiation of ideas about ‘Africanness’ and ‘South Africanness’ in relation to the world. Moving away from the raucous sonic atmosphere of the World Cup, Chapter 5 turns to the sense of taste, consumption and South African national commemorative days. Specifically, the chapter discusses how the entrepreneur Jan Scannell (aka Jan Braai) ignited and promoted a public relations campaign to rename Heritage Day commemorated on 24 September to National Braai Day (barbeque) day. The chapter discusses the evolutions of the project, its rise in popularity and the controversy generated by Scannell’s suggestion that South Africans commemorate braai as heritage and use braai to celebrate heritage. The chapter draws on Paul Nugent’s work on food consumption and nationalism in Africa to interpret how the invention of braai as heritage and the promotion of eating of grilled food products became the authentic grounds for claims for rebranding an official commemorative day. The chapter shows that Scannell’s Braai Day campaign and related ventures, while problematically self-serving, was significant in casting heritage in the language of taste and consumption in ways that opened up debate about the meaning of South African commemorative days, the purpose of practices of commemoration and the possibilities for the production of new, unifying heritage past times and traditions.
As these chapters indicate, the book makes the case for recognizing the place of the senses in heritage formation. It argues that diverse, overlapping and perhaps even contradictory aspects of the senses were crucial for the formation of heritage. It shows how, among other things, sensory experience often provided an immediate, seemingly unmediated foundation for new heritage claims; and as such, they were invoked and drawn into validating the legitimacy of those heritage projects; and therefore, by extension, they were the space in which these heritage claims were contested and negotiated. Heritage formation, as I will soon show, was ultimately about the refashioning of the senses and sensibilities about the past as they arose in the post-apartheid present.
Freedom Park: Visualizing the post-apartheid nation
Introduction The bewilderment I experienced during my first fieldwork visit to Freedom Park stays with me still. Driving into downtown Pretoria on a sunny winter morning, I had to pull over at more than one filling station to orientate myself and ask for directions. It was strange because from what I had read, the new heritage complex was supposed to be easily visible from most parts of the city. Perhaps I did not have a sensitivity for the city yet. Peering up while driving, I was unable to spot the pylons atop Salvokop Hill. Representing reeds, the bristling white swirl of pylons on the peak were meant to broadcast Freedom Park’s presence in the city skyline. Many of the locals I approached along the way had not heard of Freedom Park either. Chugging along in a beat up old VW Golf, I made a series of wrong turns, one of which took me past the Union Buildings, the seat of government, which commemorated the union of the independent Boer Republics and the British Colonies as the Union of South Africa in 1910. Thoroughly lost, I pulled over in Pretorius Square, a historically loaded plaza packed with statues in the city centre, opposite the National Museum of Natural History, to get a better set of directions there. I soon found myself driving into a rundown working-class suburb on the edge of town, motoring along dusty, quiet streets chequered with a few dilapidated houses and rusting car wrecks that seemed very far removed from the heritage site I was on the way to visit. The road ended at a gated entrance with earthy coloured brick paving and a shiny black marble entrance booth that marked a stark futuristic contrast with the rustic tinged surroundings. ‘Welcome to Freedom Park’, declared a leaning white and orange signboard. I had arrived. Fat wheeled, yellow construction vehicles rumbled noisily nearby, as major building work was still on going at the site. Contrary to my expectations, there were no luxury tour
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
buses or vehicles in the vicinity. I stopped the car just in front of the entry gate and snapped a picture of the entry sign, claiming a prized research trophy. After paying the entrance fee and receiving more instructions I found myself in a parking lot in conversation with another security guard who was kind enough to keep me company while I waited for my tour guide. Soon a golf cart pulled up with a whirr and crunch driven by a casually dressed young man. ‘Please follow me in your car,’ he politely asked. Twisting and turning along a winding drive, we eventually pulled into a parking lot near the top of the hill. I stepped out into the fresh morning air. The city centre sprawled in a wide, dazzling concrete vista behind the young man. We shook hands, and he said, ‘Welcome to Freedom Park. I will be your tour guide. Please follow me. We will begin shortly.’ Informative as it was, that tour and the many others I participated in never did requite the suspense created by the long welcome chain that preceded it. Instead it added to a lingering unresolved sense of revelation and concealment that shaped so much of what I would later find out Freedom Park was about. Thinking about the drive through the city to find Freedom Park, what remains with me still is its public invisibility, that it was occluded from social awareness despite claiming a conspicuous place in South Africa’s landscape of memory. For me this visit to Freedom Park raised a complicated set of questions about the relations between vision and time at this national heritage project. The irony of Freedom Park’s public invisibility, by which I mean a sense of it being ‘conspicuously inconspicuous’ to quote Robert Musil (1987), as suggested by the unawareness of its presence among some local residents and tourists, despite its colossal size and symbolic grandeur, speaks directly to the central topic of this chapter. What does it mean for a monumental new heritage project like Freedom Park to go unseen? What is at stake when a national heritage complex is in some ways socially invisible? These questions make more sense when one understands the significant financial, material and symbolic investments the state made in constructing Freedom Park. Freedom Park was planned in the early post-apartheid period as one of a series of new heritage projects that would commemorate previously marginalized black histories. As a national heritage project it was designed to memorialize the struggle for liberation and promote reconciliation and nationbuilding by reflecting South Africa’s cultural diversity in ways that, as a whole, would work as a representation of a unified, egalitarian national identity. The expansive heritage complex was built using design concepts borrowed from southern African religious and cultural indigenous knowledge systems to reinterpret the primary commemorative elements, like S’khumbuto, the Isivivane
or the memorial element and //hlapo, the museum that tells the story of South Africa going back 3.6 billion years (Noble 2011; Jethro 2013). Supporting the museum, the former elements made up an indigenous commemorative complex with S’khumbuto encompassing an amphitheatre, Garden of Remembrance and Wall of Names and the Isivivane with its sacred circle of stones that served as the symbolic resting place for all of those who died in South Africa’s struggle for liberation. It is the post-apartheid state’s definitive national heritage project costing tens of millions of dollars and was intended to be seen and visited by all. Yet, after its construction, it only managed to attract 21,000 visitors a year, which may be taken as an index of its visibility, or rather invisibility, in contrast to its supposed grand stature.1 This chapter presents a historical snapshot of an early period of Freedom Park’s formation, from the mid-1990s through to the early 2000s. The chapter starts with a conceptual overview of monumentality, visuality and ways of seeing. It then discusses a set of concepts of seeing that emerged out of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) process. Here I argue that the commission developed and promoted the idea of sight as the most appropriate sensory modality for apprehending the past, for purposes of reconciliation, healing and nation-building. Further, I argue that these ideas of vision as a dominant, national reconciliatory sensibility were taken up by the state in its thinking and planning of new heritage projects, such as the Presidential Legacy Projects portfolio, of which Freedom Park was a part.2 I show that Freedom Park was explicitly built up to be conceptually and symbolically monumental before its construction, and in the criteria used for selecting its location in the capital city Pretoria, and positioned to be a focus of attention for how the past would be engaged. Positioned in this way, I show that Freedom Park’s legitimacy depended on articulating a sense of authoritative visuality that reflected the state’s dominance and control over the ability to perceive and understand the past. Ultimately, the chapter shows that Freedom Park’s material and conceptual formation as a new heritage project was implicated in the state’s attempted formation of a visual sensibility, or a distinct way of seeing as a common sensory mode of apprehending the past.
Monumentality and visuality Freedom Park is monumental in physical size, authoritative, conceptually overloaded and symbolically over signified. Monumentality best captures
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
and conveys the connotations of public prominence and visibility the site was steeped in. Most basically associated with the idea of grandness of scale, as well as authority, the monumental is an aesthetic that, historically, not only is associated with ancient building complexes like the Egyptian Pyramids (Porter 2011) but also travels through nineteenth- and early twentieth-century musicology (Rehding 2009) and architecture (Junyk 2013/14). It is a philosophical idea associated with the modern and modernity, with nationalisms and with state power. But it is also questionable. The monumental, Andreas Huyssen (1996: 188–9) has argued, reflects a suspect modern political and cultural aesthetic. It signifies ‘bad taste and mass culture’, because it represents ‘nineteenth century nationalisms and twentieth century totalitarianisms’, as ethically, ‘its preference for bigness … indulges the larger-than-human in the attempt to overwhelm the individual spectator’ and finally, it reflects ‘narcissistic delusions of grandeur and … imaginary wholeness’ (1996: 188–9). In heritage studies literature the monument is often associated with triumphalism and celebration. As Adrian Parr (2008: 16) explains, ‘Monuments … refer to the materials used to memorialise an event or person; these tend to be celebratory and triumphal.’ The monumental is accordingly framed as a negative aesthetic because it represents grandiose, nationalistic celebration of the past. These notions permeate the body of literature addressing Freedom Park in South Africa, which links it to a post-apartheid modernism associated with creative arts and industrial projects (Kros 2012), but also to the awakening of a post-colonial aesthetic linked to black consciousness (Oliphant 2013). Monumentality has also framed critical discussion about the appropriateness of the size, siting and effectiveness of the heritage complex as state ‘propaganda’ (Labuschagne 2010; Mare 2007). Suspending any judgement about the qualities of this aesthetic style, I argue that the state cast Freedom Park as monumental, materially and conceptually, in order to assert and promote its authority over national heritage and nation-building narrative by explicitly emphasizing that the site be seen and recognized. Visual culture studies offers many options for interrogating how visual languages and discourses work to shape perceptions through focussing or amplifying power and asserting forms of dominance. Representative works range from Martin Jay’s discussion of scopic regimes of modernity (1993) and Laura Mulvey’s critical analysis of the male gaze (1989) to W. J. T Mitchell’s work on pictures and images (2005). Nicholas Mirzoeff ’s work (2006; 2011a, b) is particularly insightful as regards the link between seeing, ethics and power. Mirzoeff argues that the term ‘visuality’ is not a ‘theory word’ but rather, a
‘nineteenth-century word meaning the visualisation of history’ (2011a: 474), that was tied to ‘a tradition of heroic leadership, which visualizes history to sustain autocratic authority’ (2011a: 475). Visuality is about ‘the making of the processes of history perceptible to authority’, which was the privilege of the hero, particularly an imperial hero, who had the attributes of masculinity (2011a: 475). But the making of history ‘visible to authority’ is never the whole story, Mirzoeff argues. The ‘assertion of visuality’ is invariably challenged, to some degree, by the assertion of a ‘right to look’ or freedom to see, and the solidarities that arise from the mutual gaze: ‘with the look into someone else’s eyes to express friendship, solidarity or love’ as a ‘claim to political subjectivity and collectivity’ (2011a: 473). Claiming the right to look, Mirzoeff opens a way for a counter history of visuality based on the shared gaze of subjects resisting the authority of those actors who claim authority over vision. The concept of the right to look overlaps with what Marita Sturken and her colleague refer to as ‘practices of looking’ (Sturken and Cartwright 2011), but this work also has its shortcomings in that it does not give us a full sense of sight as an embodied practice, or account for how seeing is entwined with other sensory modalities. David Morgan’s notion of ‘ways of seeing’ is perhaps more helpful for unpacking these aspects of the sense of sight. ‘Ways of seeing’, he says, are ‘visual situations in which viewers assume a position within a set of relations’, ‘a framework in which viewers assume a connection to other bodies within a matrix of possibilities’ (2012: 86). ‘Ways of seeing’ offer an embodied, relational way of explaining how seeing works within the parameters of power, history and culture. Combined with Nicholas Mirzoeff ’s concept of visuality, it enables me to explain the modality of vision the state had hoped to construct and enable, how it could be taken up, but also, later after Freedom Park was built other modalities of seeing possibly superseded it. The nascent features of a state-sanctioned way of seeing, I argue, were developed during the TRC process, where a set of common visual metaphors were developed and mobilized as the most appropriate way of approaching but also dealing with the past.
‘Looking the beast in the eye’ The TRC was an important institution for framing the way the difficult past was engaged in the early post-apartheid period. The first public hearings of the commission took place in East London on 15 April 1996. Officially constituted by the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act 34 of
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
1995, the commission was mandated to grant amnesty to perpetrators of gross human rights violations on condition that they make a full disclosure of their participation in crimes of political violence and uncover the truth about injuries, deaths and whereabouts of victims of political violence during the period from 1 March 1960 through 10 May 1994, and make recommendations regarding reparations and restitution. A small number of Human Rights Violation Hearings, which took the form of questions delivered by investigators, evidence presented by victims or witnesses and responses by accused persons, were heard in public and broadcast as part of a special television series on national television. Placing a premium on disclosure and testimony in a televised or recorded forum, the commission’s work created a sonic sensibility that drew impetus from a discursive chain of relations between notions of orality and the purgative power of confession (Posel 2006; Dreyfus and Rabinow 1983: 214–16). This was because the institution orchestrated public declarative scenarios for the airing of deeply affective, heart-wrenching accounts of political violence, pain and suffering that linked victims and perpetrators in their expressive revelation of the traumas of the apartheid past (Holiday 1998). It bears noting that the hearings were not just an oral–aural event; they also created a moving visual record, such as the scene of the Commission Chairperson Archbishop Desmond Tutu breaking down on the second day of the hearings, of the tears and anguish of witnesses, partners, parents and victims, that conveyed the affective burden of addressing the past. Complementing the aural and sonic sensibility of words, sounds and voices of the TRC process, however, was a visual sensibility not simply related to the mediated circulation of images of victims and perpetrators. Vision and seeing was also a central philosophical premise of the process. That is, as Catherine Cole has observed, ‘The power of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission [lay in its] ability to make visible that which had been unseen’ (2010: 6). This is apparent in the wording of the commission’s mandate, which stated that its work was part of a broad attempt to develop ‘as complete a picture as possible of the nature, causes and extent of gross violations of human rights’.3 The televisual choreographed testimonial encounters of the Human Rights Violations Hearings therefore served to affirm the commission’s visually resonant philosophical foundations: a human rights culture based on ‘truth, transparency and freedom of information’ (Cole 2010: xviii). Held between 15 April 1996 and 31 July 1998 at venues across the country, the Human Rights Violations Hearings were conducted in the full glare of the local and international media. Broadcast in this way, it established a visual language that emphasized public revelation as a means of engaging the past and as a
modality for redeeming the future. As such, ‘anchored into homes and public and private interior spaces in different corners of South Africa’, the commission, through the ‘live and visual real history’ of televised inserts, came to function as a kind of ‘grand spectacle’, ‘an electronic monument to apartheid’s past’ (Rassool, Witz and Minkley 2000: 115). The discursive force of the primary metaphors underwriting the work of the commission – namely, truth, secrecy, revelation and justice – further reinforced the idea that the commission ‘staged and remade the past through a complex dynamic of watching, seeing, testifying and bearing witness’ (Cole 2010: 6). The TRC therefore did not merely evoke a sonic sensibility based on confession and the truth of live oral testimony. It also constructed a visual language for engaging the past for purposes of reconciliation and healing, by foregrounding seeing and the sense of sight as critical vehicles for coming to terms with the traumatic past and specifically, as offering a path to redemption. Significantly, the personal histories of trauma which were meant to stand in for the nation also helped render visible a vision of and for the future (McEachern 2002: 19–38). This was affirmed at the handing over of the first five volumes of the TRC final report in October 1998, when Archbishop Tutu announced, ‘We will have looked the beast in the eye. We will have come to terms with our horrendous past and it will no longer keep us hostage. We will cast off its shackles and, holding hands together, black and white, will stride together into the future’ (cited in Gish 2004: 158). This colourful, forward-looking, redemptive declaration smoothed over the criticisms of the TRC process, which highlighted that the institution emphasized reconciliation over justice, and focused on individual instances of violence rather than the sociopolitical forces that informed them. Furthermore, the emphasis on gross human rights violations was seen as having failed to do justice to the epistemic, ordinary, everyday experience of violence and racial discrimination (Meredith and Rosenberg 1999; Christie 2000; James and Vijver 2000; Wilson 2001; Posel and Simpson 2002; Fullard and Rousseau 2008; Verdoolaege 2008). Nevertheless, as a platform for the airing of previously hidden pain for the redemption of the nation, the TRC helped construct and facilitate the circulation of a visual rhetoric and sensibility through which the past could be meaningfully understood and the future more clearly apprehended. This visually coded logic would filter into the TRC’s substantive recommendations about material and symbolic reparations, in the form of monuments and memorials, which, broadly speaking, by 1998, the state had already tried to put in place through a series of heritage projects called the National Legacy Projects.
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
The National Legacy Projects Amid the TRC process promoting a reconciliatory visual sensibility, the ANCled government embarked on its own plans for materially reframing the South African past as part of its immediate post-apartheid nation-building project. After a year of discussion and consideration, on the eve of Youth Day, 16 June 1998, the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology (presently known as the Department of Arts and Culture, DAC) publicly announced it would launch a series of heritage projects called the Presidential Legacy Projects.4 These were a prioritized set of monuments, memorials and commemorations that would swiftly intervene in a still largely untransformed heritage landscape. Designed to facilitate reconciliation and nation-building, these heritage projects played a role in a kind of commemorative transitional justice (Buckley-Zistel and Schafer 2014). Allegedly inspired by ‘a flood of letters by the public about matters of heritage and official forms of tribute for those who made sacrifices for the fight against apartheid’, the Legacy Projects were to consist of a suite of memorials, monuments and museums including a Qunu Museum in Nelson Mandela’s town of birth, a Samora Michel Monument, Freedom Square, a South African War Centenary – and Freedom Park (Marschall 2010a: 169). The Legacy Projects were initiated to offset the lack of monuments and memorials commemorating black South African history, and to facilitate a reconciliatory nationalism (Marschall 2010a: 175). They were ‘intended to be a pro-active, symbolic acknowledgement of South Africa’s neglected, marginalised or distorted heritage’ where white South African heroes and histories were predominantly acknowledged, and to be pursued in the awareness that ‘history through monuments, museums and other forms to commemorate what is meaningful to South Africans ha[d] the potential to contribute to reconciliation and nation building’.5 In material terms, the National Legacy Projects would be an expression of a heritage practice that I propose to call commemorative complementarity, which is also sometimes referred to as a dialogical commemoration (Stevens, Franck and Fazakerley 2012; Marschall 2003). This is where new heritage media is explicitly introduced in the immediate vicinity of problematic or outmoded existing heritage markers to complement and initiate a conversation about the past. These new monuments would not replace but would complement and create a dialogue with existing monuments. As a cluster of heritage projects, the Legacy Projects in many ways anticipated the recommendations made by the TRC’s Reparation and Rehabilitation Committee regarding symbolic reparations. Symbolic reparations were defined
in the commission’s final report as ‘measures that facilitate the communal process of remembering the pain and victories of the past … [and which would work to] restore the dignity of victims and survivors’ (TRC Final Report, vol 6: 96). In short, they were visual, public representations that historically acknowledged the wrongs of the past and the hurt that was suffered, and were meant to facilitate healing. They would potentially take the form of ‘exhumations, tombstones, memorials or monuments, and the renaming of streets and public facilities’ (TRC Final Report, vol 6: 96). It needs to be noted that the Legacy Projects and Freedom Park specifically do not flow directly from the commission’s recommendations. As Brian Hamber points out, this representation of the two projects being interlinked was meant to ‘contextualise the emergence of Freedom Park in line with the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’ (2009: 31–2). The Legacy Projects marked one of the state’s first major attempts to transform the heritage sector that would later include the promulgation of important policy documents such as the National Heritage Resources Act 25 of 1999. Grounded in a reconciliatory vision of a united South African future that was inspired by, and built on the values articulated by the TRC, this series of new, prioritized commemorative markers plotted in a largely untransformed heritage landscape marked the state’s attempt to materially reconcile the apartheid past in the present. Freedom Park was billed as the state’s flagship institution. In light of its importance perhaps, the state had already formulated a clear vision of the venture’s commemorative focus, its temporal scope, core themes and material elements by the time the TRC had concluded its work. This is exemplary of the monumental vision, or vision of monumentality, coded into the government’s thinking about Freedom Park as a national heritage project. For example, as then Minster of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, Lionel Mtshali emphasized, Freedom Park would be dedicated to ‘all those who fell in the struggle for liberation’, but would also mark ‘the celebration of the attainment of freedom and democracy’ and would be aimed at ‘telling the history of South Africa from pre-colonial times up to the present’.6 It would be a ‘symbolic expression of the themes of Struggle, Democracy and Nation-Building’, which in turn, represented South Africa’s past, present and future. These themes would be materially realized through three commemorative elements, namely ‘a monument to victims of struggle, a museum dedicated to the victims of the freedom struggle and an indigenous garden of reflection and meditation’.7 The proposed materialization of these lofty themes emphasized the state’s expansive vision of Freedom Park as being its premiere cultural heritage formation.
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
From another temporal reading, as a conceptual projection, this imaginative scheme positioned Freedom Park as a primary cultural instrument through which the South African historical grand narrative would be reconfigured to represent the reconciled nation. The visual metaphors coded into the first announcement about the Legacy Projects seem to suggest this. For example, it emphasizes that Freedom Park was ‘envisaged’, to ‘make South Africa’s heritage a new living symbol of South Africa’s non-racial, non-sexist democratic South Africa’, and that would ‘enable South Africans of all walks of life, to develop a sense of common identity’.8 Asserting the state’s monumental aspirations, Minister Lionel Mtshali made it clear at the time that Freedom Park would be the government’s most ambitious heritage venture, highlighting the site’s role in redressing the biases of South Africa’s past but also its proposed role in shaping the egalitarian conscience of the nation in the future. Freedom Park’s conceptual monumentality, or over-determined cultural and symbolic meaning, was a consistent feature of political rhetoric about the project at the time of its conception. This can be seen in a June 2000 speech delivered by then deputy president Jacob Zuma launching the Freedom Park Trust on behalf of the Presidency and the Department of Arts, Science, Culture and Technology where he reaffirmed the state’s expansive vision for Freedom Park by elaborating on the themes of ‘Struggle’, ‘Democracy’ and ‘Nation-Building’ and highlighted the Park’s role in creating a new, inclusive national consciousness as the centrepiece in the Legacy Projects portfolio.9 Freedom Park would ‘articulate an overall, multi-faceted heritage, which [would] be brought together to represent, in a visible, experiential, and interactive manner, our developing national consciousness and identity’.10 This would be achieved through the ‘interactive themes’ of Struggle, Democracy and NationBuilding that would ‘embrace the vision of Freedom Park’.11 The theme of Struggle, referred to ‘an often painful but also inspiring aspect of our past that should not be swept under the carpet but rather celebrated and understood in its historical context’.12 Freedom Park would serve as ‘a creative response to [this difficult history], and [therefore] promote the process of healing’.13 Democracy was related to the process of reconciliation and the South African national narrative of having overcome the challenges of ‘racism, bigotry and economic inequality’.14 Finally, Nation-Building referred to the process of shaping a national consciousness and identity in the future. As Jacob Zuma expounded, ‘A national consciousness is not a given, as we are painfully aware through our own historical experiences’, and so, Freedom Park was intended to incorporate ‘the debates and contradictions that occur in the process of exploring concepts related to nation-
building in our multi-cultural society’.15 In this formulation, Freedom Park was being conceived as a means of capturing and representing South Africa’s cultural diversity as a model of the nation in the future.16 The ‘aim of the Freedom Park is to reflect the cultural lifestyle of all South Africans, to reach out to all people, young and old and be a moving, informative as well as entertaining experience’.17 According to official state planning rhetoric then, Freedom Park was charged with the revelation of painful histories, and their refraction through the values of the present to reflect a new image of the nation in the future. The expansive characterization of Freedom Park by Jacob Zuma was, at the time, also affirmed by the then minister of arts and culture Dr Ben Ngubane, who emphasized its leading role in the Legacy Project’s portfolio, saying, ‘The vision and goals of Freedom Park are echoed in the development of the broader national Legacy Project, which is based on the objectives of nation-building, redress [and] reinterpretation of events.’18 Ben Ngubane also resorted to visual language to describe its future significance, saying proudly, ‘I envision a day, in the not too distant future, when we as a nation will stand proud with the knowledge that we have achieved the vision that is Freedom Park.’19 Ben Ngubane’s prophecy referred to Freedom Park being a ‘vision’ that would materially intervene in reframing South Africa’s past in the future. This claim further highlights the state’s rhetorical conception of it and heritage formation generally as being comprised of the related notions of material aesthetics, vision and time. State rhetorical formulations of Freedom Park, such as Ngubane’s, show that it was characterized as culturally and materially monumental using a visual language that built on the future-orientated, healing and reconciliatory visual discourses propagated by the TRC. Taking these discourses forward, the state’s conceptualization of Freedom Park as a new heritage project further contributed to the legitimation of vision and seeing as the sensory modality most appropriate for apprehending and dealing with the past. As I will show in the following section, addressing the selection criteria used to choose the site for the new project, Freedom Park was explicitly positioned to be highly visible, and its visibility was tied to how it shaped the perception of the past in the city of Pretoria.
Location Having laid out the main conceptual features of the project, officials responsible for managing the project on behalf of the state next turned to finding an appropriate geographical location for Freedom Park. In light of its
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
auspiciousness, the administrative capital, Pretoria, was identified as best suited to host the project.20 Government eventually selected Salvokop, one of a number of hills in the city skyline, as the most appropriate site.21 Perhaps the main reason for this choice of location was the real and symbolic possibilities it offered for viewing.22 Specifically, Salvokop offered three distinct visual advantages. First, the hill provided a panoramic view of the city of Pretoria and all the main surrounding heritage markers. Second, its position at the entrance to the city meant that Freedom Park would be visible to vehicular traffic. Third, the hill was located directly opposite the Voortrekker Monument and in direct line of sight of the Union Buildings. This positioning was intended to visually communicate a break with the past symbolized by the Voortrekker Monument (Figure 1.1). The dramatic possibilities for viewing, visibility and comparative visual symbolism offered by Salvokop Hill boded well for showcasing the state’s new heritage project. It also added impetus to Freedom Park’s future role in shaping a public visual sensibility about a way of seeing the South African past that helped reinforce relationships between vision and time. First, designers recognized and placed great emphasis on Salvokop’s potential as a lookout point from which to view the city of Pretoria and surrounding hills
Figure 1.1 The Voortrekker Monument, Pretoria.
and landscape. Design policy documents highlight, for example, that this ‘steep hill, which was the threshold between the city and natural environment to the south’, offered ‘outstanding views to the north of the Union Buildings, Unisa [University of South Africa] and the city bowl’.23 Architectural firms bidding for the Freedom Park project were explicitly invited to capitalize on the site’s visual possibilities.24 The architectural brief stated that ‘the view from the hill … be preserved and that no tall buildings are built which may obstruct the line of sight’.25 By placing emphasis on the importance of the views afforded by the hill, officials managing the site selection process intended that Freedom Park would symbolically domesticate the surrounding landscape. Hence, the site enshrined a top-down, authoritarian perspective over the city and the landscape. This is evident, for example, in the evocative, otherworldly descriptions posted on an early version of the Freedom Park website, that played up the immersive power of the city views presented by the site: ‘Visitors are guaranteed to stand in awe at the sharply contrasting view, offering the opposites of our world; the hustle and industry of the city centre to the north and the tranquillity and lush vegetation to the South.’26 References to the landscape and the sense of awe it was supposed to inspire suggest that the state’s rhetoric was permeated with the visual concepts of the picturesque and the sublime. David Brett argues that ‘it is under the headings of the picturesque and the sublime that the aestheticization of history proceeds’ (1996: 38). ‘The picturesque’, explains Brett, ‘has as its aim the validation of experience by art’ (1996: 40), or the valuation of images based on their prior appearance in art. The ‘mature concept’ of the picturesque is characterized by two features: first, the privileged position of the viewer and second ‘the pursuit of particular scenes and subjects’ (Brett 1996: 40). The sublime, by contrast, refers to representations of the past, particularly, but not exclusively, landscapes deemed to be mysterious and awesome. It is further characterized by the evocation of such moving experiences as astonishment, terror and wonder. The picturesque and the sublime were visual aesthetic devices employed in art and literature but could also be transposed discursively to facilitate the hailing of particular collectivities around landscape scenes that depicted what appeared to be a shared territory. To delve deeper into why the project managers placed such emphasis on the views availed by Salvokop Hill, I want to briefly digress to bring home how important the domestication of landscape scenes of Pretoria have been for shaping preceding South African nationalisms.27 Landscapes and landscape imagery, linking nature and the national consciousness, have historically played
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
a key role in evoking nationalisms based on the cultivation of particular visual sensibilities (Cosgrove 1984; Crandell 1993; Mitchell 2002). This discourse is evident, for example, in the artistic work of South African painter Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef. A member of the Afrikaner secret society Die Broeder Bond from 1918, and a staunch Afrikaner nationalist, Pierneef explicitly wove his political views into his depictions of South African landscape scenery (Beningfield 2006: 42). Looking at his landscape scenes, what is striking, art historian John Peffer (2009: 225/6) notes, is that his paintings ‘virtually erased from the picturesque landscape of rolling hills and bubbling streams … any hint of the city of Pretoria itself, especially the Union Buildings … [as well as] any evidence of the Ndebele and other African people who were defeated by Boer commandoes and scattered as [an exploitable labour force]’. As such, the picturesque landscape depicted by Pierneef was ‘frozen in a state of empty apartness, perpetually ready for white settlement, and timelessly open for the prospect of white prosperity’ (Ibid). His paintings therefore ‘offered a visual means through which the veld, and in particular the landscape scenery of the Transvaal province, could be imagined as the fatherland of the Afrikaner’ (Beningfield 2006: 43; Coetzee 1992; Figure 1.2).
Figure 1.2 S’khumbuto, Freedom Park, Pretoria, aerial view. Courtesy of Office of Collaborative Architects (OCA), being Mashabane Rose Architects, Gapp Architects and Urban Designers, and MMA architects. The project was a collaborative effort of the above three firms.
As far as Pierneef ’s paintings ‘cast the landscape as the exclusive province of God’s Chosen People, the Afrikaner volk’, they functioned like ‘a utopian fantasy of what the South African landscape never actually was, and they performed a symbolic rubbing out of the history of the land’ (Peffer 2009: 225/6). In this way, Pierneef sought to ‘designate’ the Pretoria landscape as ‘national’, and, through the supposed authenticity of the landscape, ‘symbolize … the authenticity of the people and nation as national categories’ (Brett 1996: 58). This suggests that there existed a tradition of nationalist appropriation of landscape scenery around Pretoria for purposes of cultivating a common, national way of seeing. While hailing from vastly different political motivations, a similar process of appropriation and cultivation of visuality seemed to playing out around Freedom Park as references to the picturesque and the sublime also appear in the descriptions of the landscape scenery visible from there. Second, the designers recognized that the site also afforded one of the best opportunities for Freedom Park to be viewed from different parts of the city. Flanked by the University of South Africa, perched above Fountains Circle and Nelson Mandela drive, in the shadow of Pretoria Central Prison, at the edge of the city centre and just opposite Pretoria Central station, Salvokop was an elevated site easily visible from multiple vantage points in the city. They placed such emphasis on the importance of Freedom Park being seen, that they included reference to it, and particular lines of sight, in their brief to designers bidding for the project. For example, the Freedom Park Architectural Brief made the recommendation that ‘the visual prominence of the northern slope [of Salvokop] when viewed from Paul Kruger Street requires careful consideration as to the visual impact of any proposal within this zone’.28 Paul Kruger Street, a key vehicular arterial, offered city dwellers a clear line of sight to Salvokop beyond Pretoria Central station, and therefore warranted special attention, or, as it was noted in the brief, ‘the corridor space from the Park to the Union Buildings is significant and worthy of preservation/protection’.29 Ensuring that Freedom Park would be hyper visible was significant in two ways. First, it was a means of visually staking authority over the city as residents would experience the heritage complex looming over them (wherever they might be) in a way similar to but different from the Voortrekker Monument, the most distinctive object in the Pretoria skyline. Second, by being hyper visible Freedom Park would function as a point of temporal and spatial orientation that signalled the new democratic temporal order in the capital city. Arguing that Freedom Park functioned to guide visual perceptions in and around the city, I want to further show how the project managers called on an
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
established visual sensibility related to heritage projects and nationalism in Pretoria. This was not the first time that Pretoria’s cityscape, refracted through images of a real and imagined monumental structure, was captured and re-presented for the purposes of shaping a South African nationalism. At the turn of the twentieth century, renowned British imperial architect, and friend of Cecil John Rhodes, Sir Herbert Baker’s choice of location, as well as design of the Union Buildings, the seat of white government in 1910, was strongly informed by archetypically antiquarian landscape images and architectural concepts projected onto the city as part of the vision for a new monumental building (Grieg 1970; Keath 1992). Sir Herbert Baker’s choice of Meintjes Kop for the location of the new seat of white power – the Union of South Africa – was, for example, inspired by its apparent similarity to ‘Segesta with its temple and theatre, and of Agrigentum with its rows of temples on the hillside overlooking the Sicilian seas’.30 A number of design features percolating in Baker’s mind were also inspired by classical Italian architectural tropes. The ascending terraces leading up to the building from the main road were like the ‘great flight of steps … [at] the famed Villa d’Este garden at Tivoli’.31 Despite being inspired by antiquarian European landscape imagery, this location was also apparently imbued with real visual power, as Baker imagined things: standing at this auspicious location, future politicians would ‘lift their eyes up to the surrounding hills and the … splendour of the Highveld from which [they would] gather inspiration and visions of greatness’ (Baker 1934: 60). Baker was not alone in ruminating about the future through the evocative power of ancient architectural images, such as those the Union Buildings conjured up. As he noted the statesman and later prime minister ‘[General Smuts] with his quick insight and imagination, at once visualised the idea with its power to give dignity and beauty to the instrument and the symbol of Union’ (Baker 1934: 60). By this, Baker sought to imply, ‘in Christopher Wren’s famous words: Architecture has its political Use; public Buildings being the Ornament of a Country; it establishes a Nation, draws People and Commerce; makes the people love their native Country, which Passion is the original of all great actions in the Commonwealth’ (Baker 1934: 60). As the ultimate symbol of sovereign amalgamation, the Union Buildings would materialize the power of a new unified white South African nationalism (Foster 2008; Merrington 1997; 1998/1999). As a building it also represented the power of modern architecture, grounded in imagined historical traditions and situated at a visually resonant location, to mark a break with history and hail a new white South African national subjectivity by evoking and making available colonial visual tropes for shaping how people would see.
Third, the state recognized that Salvokop would enable Freedom Park to visibly strike a symbolic break with the colonial and apartheid past as the hill was situated at a point directly between the Union Buildings and the Voortrekker Monument (Figure 1.3). One could say, between these buildings, Salvokop Hill would create an urban, visual representation of the past and the future. ‘Being at the summit of [Salvokop Hill]’, one design proposal suggested, ‘is also a vantage point from where one is immersed into history and into the future’.32 As former president Thabo Mbeki explained in his preface to the International Architectural Competition, ‘located on the hills of our national capital, the site itself speaks of both our past as well as our future’.33 Situated at this outstanding position in Pretoria’s skyline, ‘with its vistas to the Voortrekker Monument and the Union Buildings the seat of our democratic government’, Thabo Mbeki declared, ‘Freedom Park ha[d] the responsibility to reconcile the past and the future.’34 This was affirmed in one early design proposal that asserted that locating Freedom Park here would ‘provide a subtle and nuanced interpretation of the … past present and the future … [Freedom Park] will symbolically give its back to the Voortrekker Monument and face the city of Pretoria and the Union Buildings, making a statement of giving its back to the past and facing the future’.35 These claims about Freedom Park’s future role in striking a visual
Figure 1.3 Freedom Park and the Voortrekker Monument as seen from the Union Buildings, Pretoria. Courtesy of Graham A. Young – Landscape Architect.
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
break with the past suggested again that designers believed that it was through the control of what was visually apparent that Freedom Park would help reframe the narrative of the nation. As a heritage project deployed for purposes of re-imagining the South African past, Freedom Park was also explicitly meant to contrast with the Union Buildings and especially the Voortrekker Monument. The Voortrekker Monument was Freedom Park’s most obvious and striking foil. Looming in Pretoria’s skyline, the Voortrekker Monument recalls the founding of a twentieth-century Afrikaner nationalism. Designed by Gerard Moerdijk and unveiled in 1949, the Voortrekker Monument served to materially commemorate the Afrikaner narrative of divine predestination as a people and their rule over South African territory (Moodie 1975; Leach 1989; Giliomee 2003). Dramatically depicted in the artist Anton van Wouw’s magisterial marble frieze circling the entrance hall of the monument, this narrative of covenantal predestination depicted the trials endured by pioneering white peasant groups in the course of their pursuit of an independent homeland in the early nineteenth century. This bond between the people, the land and God, established at the victory of the Battle of Blood River, was recalled annually on 16 December, which is presently known as Reconciliation Day, with a church service that culminated in the witnessing of a single beam of light emanating from the oculus in the roof radiating down on to the cenotaph in the basement of the Voortrekker Monument at precisely 12 noon and thereby vividly illuminating the inscription ‘Ons Vir Jou Suid Afrika’ (We For You South Africa).36 This monumental crystallization of a singular, simply understood narrative of nation was amplified through the choice of location of the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria. Named after Andries Pretorius, a hero of the Battle of Blood River, and formerly presided over by Paul Kruger as president of the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek, Pretoria did not merely resonate with the fundamental myth of heroism that informed the Voortrekker narrative. It also represented the temporary achievement of the goal of the trek itself: the establishment of an independent Afrikaner homeland (Lombard 1955: 26–30). Furthermore, the site’s position in direct line of sight with the Union Buildings, at the time signifying ‘South Africa’s dominion status in the British Empire’, helped signal the preeminence of Afrikaner nationalism (Delmont 1993: 82). Formed out of a homespun narrative of divine predestination, this series of design features pointed to the Voortrekker Monument’s mobilization as part of ‘a deliberate campaign to construct, foster and mobilise Afrikaner identity in the 1930s’ around the notion of a glorified past that dwelled on the valorising of heroes, love for the
country and faith in God’ (Delmont, 1993: 80). The Voortrekker Monument was ‘an important site where Afrikaner nationalists produced a vision of society that legitimised the social ordering of South Africa under apartheid’ (Crampton 2001: 224). In contemporary South Africa, the Voortrekker Monument is a flourishing cultural institution, but is also seen as uncritically representing an exclusive, outdated Afrikaner nationalism that had been transcended through the institution of a democratic political apparatus – symbolized by the Union Buildings – and the inauguration of a united nation, represented by Freedom Park.37 Looking at these three qualities for viewing offered by Salvokop Hill, it is difficult to play down the idea that before it was even built Freedom Park anticipated a Foucauldian panoptic structure of visuality as it was implicated in forms of social surveillance as much as rendering the past visible. A panoptic way of seeing can be described as organized ways of seeing, and thinking about being seen, established through representations that mobilize surveillance to amplify and focus dominant forms of power. Panoptic ways of seeing structure what David Morgan describes as a unilateral gaze: ‘The unilateral gaze constructs vision as operating in one direction, enforcing a singular set of relations on seer and seen such that the seer wields power asymmetrically and the seen, insofar as it is seen, occupies a subaltern, submissive position’ (2012: 71). A panoptic way of seeing is explicitly aimed at raising a disciplining gaze, that is, a form of apprehension that is partly coercive but allegedly therapeutic and beneficial at the same time. As Foucault explains, panoptic surveillance can be reduced to ‘just a gaze. An inspecting gaze, a gaze which each individual under its weight will end by interiorising to the point that [they] are [their] own overseer, each individual thus exercising this surveillance over, and against [themselves]’ (1980: 155). To further illustrate how deeply immersed Freedom Park is in notions of vision, power and authority, I want to refer to an example from an actual tour of the site. As would be expected, the blurring of Freedom Park’s visual centrality and the centrality of its role in representing the transition to democracy and freedom are a regular feature of the Freedom Park tour narrative. Tours of the S’khumbuto, the major outdoor area, explicitly drew in and made reference to views of the cityscape and surrounding hills in ways that emphasized Freedom Park’s significance in transforming the narrative of post-apartheid nation. For example, one important stop on a Freedom Park tour is at the highest point of the Park, where visitors are able to take in a 360-degree view of the city, and where guides identify and explain the significance of the hills and important buildings in and around the city. More than setup an embodied, direct experience of touristic spectatorship, the stop also serves the strategic purpose of clarifying how Freedom Park plays
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
Figure 1.4 Freedom Park Reeds at night. Courtesy of Graham A. Young – Landscape Architect.
a role in shaping a new relationship between vision, state power, monumentality and time. At this stop tour guides therefore often also announce that there is a proscription on the construction of buildings that can obstruct the line of sight between the Union Buildings, Freedom Park and the Voortrekker Monument. They go on to explain that the reason for this proscription is so that when the president deliberates on important matters of state, they should be able to gaze from their office in the Union Buildings over to the Voortrekker Monument and see where we came from in the past, and then see Freedom Park and realize what had been achieved in the present. Illustrating how state power is linked to vision and seeing, tour guides therefore emphasized the wellbeing of the nation is overseen by a president whose cogitation was informed by the visual evidence of heritage sites visible in the skyline of the capital city (Figure 1.4).
Conclusion Trying to find Freedom Park was challenging because I, and some of the members of the public I asked for directions, did not recognize the visual cues in which the site was coded. At night the Reeds, a swirl of light poles on the crest of the hill, were lit up and clearly distinguished the hill in the night sky. But apart
from the Reeds, the Park was explicitly designed using indigenous knowledge systems that were meant to make the site blend in with the natural environment of Salvokop Hill. As an explicit contrast to the Voortrekker Monument, it was not designed to make a bold visual aesthetic statement. This could perhaps explain the complicated ways in which the site was actually seen, though it does not do sufficient justice to the sense of public invisibility that clouded over it. In this chapter I have shown how the state replicated and took forward ways of thinking about vision and seeing that emerged out of the TRC process; that is, accompanying voice, sound and speaking, vision and seeing were promoted as appropriate for engaging and addressing the past. Freedom Park was also framed as physically and conceptually monumental in the state’s early planning stages, and positioned as a focus for transforming representations of the past and for hailing the nation in the future. The notion of monumentality was further harnessed and combined with the eventual choice of location for the new project as the state used a panoptic model of visuality to position Freedom Park for asserting a unilateral, authoritarian gaze over the city of Pretoria. But Freedom Park did not entirely succeed in its aims of asserting this kind of visual authority, as its lack of touristic popularity suggested it was not highly publically visible. This suggests that structuring a way of seeing that is well meaning does not necessarily result in it being effective. The ineffectiveness of this way of seeing could relate to other modes of viewing the past remaining in force, such as those structured by other commemorative buildings in the city. But it could also be because of the predominance of other more pressing everyday ways of seeing that circulate in the city and the nation, distracting attention from Freedom Park and what it was meant to represent. Fundamentally it could hint at a problem with the TRC’s mode of visual hailing, as occluding or concealing the past as much as it holds out the promise of revelation. It suggests that vision, seeing and the way of seeing that the state intended to mobilize was not the most effective, exclusive mode of cohering the nation. Perhaps, as we will see in the following chapters, other sensory modes of apprehension were more effective for grasping the past and unifying the nation.
Touching memorials: Ruination, public feeling and the Sunday Times Heritage Project
Introduction Arriving in downtown Johannesburg, an area notorious for crime, I made my way through the hot, dusty, crowded inner-city streets to find the memorial for the black advocate Duma Nokwe. The Sunday Times Heritage Project (STHP) website indicated it was located outside the High Court. Smelling the dry heat of the inner city, a friend and I walked through the crowds waiting for access to a tall building nearby and eventually found the memorial. Depicting the face of the advocate shaped out of perforations in a dark metal plate, the memorial and accompanying plaque were in pristine condition. I circled it taking pictures, touched it to feel the smoothness and warmth of the metal and looked around trying to get a sense of the location and the kind of traffic it was exposed to. My friend rather nervously stood to one side. This was a rough part of town. ‘Holla’, hailed a tall uniformed guard in colloquial South African English while walking up to us. ‘Holla my brother’, I replied, while continuing to take pictures. ‘What are you doing? Why are you interested in this thing?’ the guard asked in a stern voice. ‘I am just interested in this thing; I am doing research,’ I replied asking more about the memorial. He persisted for a bit, but then eased up and then surprisingly explained that it was dedicated to Duma Nokwe who was a friend of Nelson Mandela’s in the 1950s and had become the first black advocate before Mandela. While I appreciated the information the guard conveyed to me, he also made me feel uncomfortable. Perhaps I had taken pictures without getting permission, I wondered. At this point, the guard changed tack, saying, ‘Tell me, really, why are you interested in this thing my brother? Do you want this thing? Cause we can make a plan, just talk to me.’ Through invoking a kind of kinship relation, I took him to be suggesting that if I wanted this near immovable piece of public
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
art, he could assist me by stealing it. I was taken aback by what appeared to be a brazen criminal proposition. Out of curiosity I played along. Quickly, the guard not only rationalized why the removal of the memorial was necessary but also explained the logistics of how quickly and simply it could be removed. ‘You see my brother’, he said walking up to the memorial, ‘this thing, its blocking the people from walking here on the pavement’, indicating its resistance by placing his hands on the top and pushing it to show how it resisted human strength. ‘How must people walk here; we must take this thing away here. Talk to me my brother, we can make a plan.’ Pointing to his portaloo-sized guard house, he said, ‘I’ve got power, we just get a grinder, cut this thing like this, here’, he indicated, leaning down low, and making a crude, slicing gesture at the base of the memorial. For a minute it seemed as if we had reached a consensus about what was going on before the conversation fizzled away once the guard realized I was not serious. He then changed tack, playing down his offer as a kind of inside joke. I never returned to enquire about the guard or the state of the memorial but have always been struck by this encounter. Later, driving home, my friend mentioned that the guard felt comfortable propositioning me because he could easily blame the theft of the memorial on the poor and homeless who wandered the inner-city streets. Here was a person charged with the responsibility of protecting public property, yet willing to actively engage in the destruction and sale of such property. It was telling that he was able to recognize the material value of the memorial as a piece of art that a certain clientele would be interested in not only viewing but perhaps even owning. In some ways I reasoned that it spoke to the class disparities between me and him, to his financial situation and what he greatly overestimated as being mine. But it also spoke to the different ways in which he thought I valued this ‘thing’ as he called it. In some ways then, the incident helped me understand the ideas of value that may have operated in the reasoning behind the ruination of some of the memorials erected as part of the STHP. The STHP comprised a series of thirty-six individually designed, site-specific narrative memorials located in four of South Africa’s major provinces, erected between 2006 and 2008. Designed to be inconspicuous but also engaging and interactive, the memorials were also intentionally styled as evocative pieces of public art. The initiative also produced two books documenting the project and the history of the Sunday Times, as well as a novel interactive website for high school learners. As I have shown elsewhere, the project was highly innovative, not just for the art memorials, but for the kinds of civic collaborations the
newspaper struck between academics, universities, artists and civic institutions that promoted new forms of value that marked the project as something more than just another commercially funded philanthropic enterprise (Jethro 2018). Where the memorials were concerned, however, many came to be badly vandalized or even destroyed soon after being unveiled. In this chapter, I would like to address this ruination and the possibilities it opens up for comprehending the sense of touch and public feeling in South Africa. To ruin, Laura Anne Stoler (2013: 9–11) writes, is an ‘active process’, a ‘vibrantly violent verb’, referring to the ‘reappropriations, neglect, and strategic and active positioning of [ruins] within the politics of the present’. It relates to the spoiling of material culture through a range of means and the place of ruined material in the world. Taking up the constructive vibrancy and violence of this term, I use the word ‘ruination’ to refer to a state of decay induced through either purposeful destruction or mere neglect. I want to mobilize it to try and think about what it says about the memorials, the STHP in general and urban space and publicness in South Africa. My chapter builds on extant scholarly writing about the STHP, which addresses questions of public history and heritage (Kros 2008), gender and memorialization (Marschall 2010b), as well as memorialization and practices of mediation (Marschall 2011). In contrast, here, I focus on ruination and the afterlife of the memorials. Specifically, I will argue that ruination allows us to understand the relationship between the Sunday Times and the publics it attempted to address because it sets up a conceptual and sensory interface, through the sense of touch, between human beings and valued material cultural forms that may provide insight into public feeling about the public history articulated by this project. Feeling is important. The art historian Erika Doss (2010: 13) argues that memorials embody ‘archives of public affect … repositories of feelings and emotions … in their material form and narrative content’. For her, memorials are ‘bodies of feeling, cultural entities whose social, cultural, and political meanings are determined by the emotional states and needs of their audiences’ (Doss 2010: 36). The psychologist Derek Hook (2005: 701) has similarly proposed, ‘Monuments are the “machines of ideology” which require a human component to power their affects’. Affect has been a growing topic of scholarly enquiry regarding memorials and commemorative culture (Allen and Brown 2011; Clark and Franzmann 2006; Stevens 2009). Feeling is a deeply sensuous affective capacity particularly related to touch (Classen 2012). For example, sensory studies scholar Anthony Synnott (1993) has shown that touch is physical, relating to the skin and contact, but also metaphorical, resonating in a host of metaphors
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
that refer to states of feeling. Emotions are forcefully freighted through the language of touch. Indexing notions of connection and feeling, orientation and understanding, touch provides a useful metaphorical language for probing the complex acts of ruination perpetrated against the STHP memorials. Focussing on public feeling and the destruction of material culture, I hope to add to the debate about the material turn in the humanities by showing how ruination marks the articulation of public feeling as part of the process of staging claims to and about public spheres. Put another way, in this chapter, I explore the public reception of the STHP memorials through the relationships struck between ruination, the sense of touch and public feeling.
Publics and publicity When embarking on its centenary celebrations, the Sunday Times stressed the public grassroots acceptance of its memorials. For example, the editor characterized the consultation process with stakeholders, the publics that would ultimately take ownership of the memorials, as defining the project’s character: ‘This is what our Heritage Project is about: the lived experience of South Africans.’1 Further reinforcing the everyday character of the project, design criteria stipulated not only that the STHP memorials be situated in public locations with high pedestrian traffic but also that they incorporate some interactive component. They were meant to break with the omnipotent, monumental authority evoked by colonial and apartheid memorials, categorized as ‘Big Men on Bronze Horses’, in the words of one of the coordinators, Charlotte Bauer (2007). The STHP memorials were designed to be small scale and site specific, with some purposefully inviting active physical, tactile interaction on the part of their publics.2 For example, the Mannenberg memorial allowed passers-by to play a few notes from the eponymous jazz track by running a stick along a few carefully cut metal pipes. The Mohandas Gandhi memorial was similarly interactive. Erected to commemorate the 1908 pass-burning riot led by Gandhi outside the Hamidia Mosque in central Johannesburg, it took the form of a cooking pot similar to the one used during the protest, featured a zoetrope device that, when rotated, depicted the burning of a pass book. Inviting a variety of physical interactions such as touching and feeling, pulling and pushing, tapping and sounding, sitting, rotating and seeing, the interactive materiality of the memorials evoked multiple sensory experiences. As public art works situated
at or near locations of direct significance to the narratives they commemorated and the publics that were invited to remember them, the STHP memorials also engaged with particular, complex notions of site specificity (Kwon 1997, 2004). By emphasizing everydayness, innovative aesthetics and site specificity, many of the Sunday Times’ memorials were meant to not only enjoy a kind of inconspicuous publicness but also to stage public histories in playfully conspicuous ways. However, concerted effort to gain acceptance for the memorials by their intended publics did not always result in their being all that well received or preserved. By 2008, at least five of the Sunday Times memorials had been ruined, with the majority eventually being defaced, damaged or simply left to deteriorate due to a lack of maintenance.3 Clearly, addressing the ‘lived experience of South Africans’ did not necessarily make the memorials compelling enough to solicit organic site-specific protection. The defacement of the memorials posed a serious challenge. For that reason a crucial difficulty project designers faced was ‘the need to look after sensitive artworks in places where … neglect seemed to reign’.4 A major design condition was that the memorials had to be resistant to the forces of both the natural and social environment. They had to be durable and enduring, ‘time-proof, people-proof, and weather-proof ’.5 Erected for the public, the STHP memorials therefore had to also be shielded from the public. The notion of the public is clearly central in any discussion of who the Sunday Times tried to address and engage with these memorials. Jürgen Habermas (1991: 1) expressed the messiness of publicness in The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, saying that ‘the words “public” and “public sphere” betrays a multiplicity of concurrent meanings’ that linger in both common and academic uses despite their complexity. Michael Warner (2002, 2005) affirms this confusion when he says that often no distinction is made between ideas of a public or the public. Accordingly, two specific configurations of what is meant are often interchangeably implied, namely a public as ‘a social totality’ and ‘as a concrete audience’ (Warner 2002: 413). This overlap often works to elide the conditions under which such publics are rendered apparent. For Warner, publics and counter-publics emerge through ‘texts and their circulation’ as discourses: ‘A public is a space of discourse organized by nothing else than discourse itself ’ (Warner 2002: 414). Locating publics in the reflexive operations of the production and circulation of texts, for Michael Warner and others (Fraser 1990; Hauser 1999), publics are entities bound and forged through practices of dialogue and the production of discourse. I reference this discursive framing of publicness with caution. They place little to no emphasis on the materiality of the means and modes of inscribing and mobilizing texts. Indeed, I am convinced that discourses
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
do not so much ‘create the objects of which they speak’, to paraphrase Foucault, but, rather, they are a fundamental reality of the material stuff that renders them sensible. Through discussing specific cases of ruined Sunday Times memorials, I will engage directly with the relationships between the production of forms of language, materiality and the constitution of publics.
Ruination and touch Concerns about the security of the Sunday Times memorials were well founded because the vandalism of material heritage forms was prevalent in South Africa. The art historian David Freedberg (1985) has argued that it is impossible to ever fully fathom what the true motives of iconoclasts might be. Yet I would like to hazard a few guesses. Specifically, I would like to propose that in the South African context we can infer two sorts of motivation for such acts of ruination. On the one hand, some heritage forms were vandalized for the purpose of making clear political statements. For example, in 1998, in East London in the Eastern Cape Province, a statue erected in honour of the Black Consciousness icon Steve Biko was vandalized by unknown members of the public who sprayed the signature of the Afrikaner Weerstand Beweging (Afrikaner Resistance Movement), a right-wing paramilitary organization, at its feet.6 On the other hand, material heritage forms were also vandalized for purely material reasons. In Cape Town in 2008, for example, the life-sized bronze sculptures of Coline Williams and Robbie Waterwitch, installed to commemorate their tragic death while planting an explosive device at a municipal voting station during apartheid, were toppled and spirited away in the early hours of the morning. In a bitter irony, the assailants were caught when they tried to sell chunks of the effigies for their value in metal.7 What conceptual language can we use to interpret this destruction of property? The art historian Dario Gamboni (1997) provides a useful outline of the complexity introduced by the use of terms and concepts that describe such phenomena. He shows that the term ‘vandalism’ emerges out of the volatility of the French Revolution. Coined by Abbé Grégoire to designate ‘barbarous, ignorant, or inartistic treatment devoid of meaning’, Grégoire intended it to carry the connotaion of ‘excluding the vandal from the community of civilized mankind … neighbourhood, city, nation, etc’ (Gamboni 1997: 18). In its classical sense, vandalism was imbued with condescending connotations regarding the character of destroyers of material property (Merrills 2009). Iconoclasm,
traditionally referring to the destruction of religious images, alternately implies ‘intention, sometimes doctrine’ but more precisely, that ‘the actions or attitudes thus designated have meaning’ (Gamboni 1997: 19). The presumed difference in motive and class of those perpetrating destruction, therefore, distinguishes vandalism from iconoclasm as engagements inspired either by meaningful intention or mindless malice. Yet iconoclasm introduces its own set of problems. It referred to the destruction of religious images specifically and, relatedly, that the spoiling of these material representations is secondary to the spoiling of what they signified (Gamboni 1997: 17–22). Despite this reductive interpretation of religious meaning and secular material forms, overall, we can see the conceptual language framing the destruction of material cultural forms as loaded with historical meaning that has clear religious resonances. This is further evident when we make another conceptual distinction through the notion of defacement. Describing the actual act of spoiling, this term conveys the notion of wilful intent to damage. In Michael Taussig’s (1999: 1) consideration defacement is construed as a particular form of desecration where the power of the material representation is not undermined but, rather, amplified: ‘A strange surplus of negative energy is likely to be aroused from within the defaced thing itself.’ In this ‘state of desecration’, artefacts and images of cultural value ‘can come across as being more sacred than sacred’. For Taussig (1999: 2), defacement is a form of truth telling that is ‘not a matter of exposure which destroys the secret’ but, rather, ‘a revelation which does justice to it’. Whether in reference to secrets, religious images or material cultural forms, this conceptual lexicon maps the different modes of classification of the destruction of culturally significant material.8 The apparently neat relations between violence, publics and material cultural forms are not always that clear, as W. J. T Mitchell (1990: 886–7) points out in his article ‘The Violence of Public Art’: ‘Is public art inherently violent, or is it a provocation to violence? Is violence built into the monument in its very conception? Or is violence simply an accident that befalls some monuments?’ For him, monuments as public art are violent because the concept itself is encoded with political forces that exclude certain publics and facilitate the erasure of histories since they inherently assert the authority of the narratives permeating their design. And how do we address instances of material violence where the motive is not entirely clear? In South Africa, vandalism as a form of ruination is, however, also sometimes inspired by obscure, indeterminate motives that Bruno Latour (2002: 17, 21) would term ‘iconoclash’, where ‘one does not know, one hesitates, one is troubled by an action for which there is no way to know …
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
whether it is destructive or constructive’. The vagaries around motives and the class identities of perpetrators reveal the insufficiency of a universal language of classifying material violence. In the following four sections, I will engage in a case-by-case interpretation of representative incidents, highlighting the kinds of modalities of ruination, touch and public sentiment they appeared to index.
Bankie Gedagtes Between 1950 and 1990, the apartheid state forced South Africans to be classified into an ever-finer series of racial categories that would govern their experience of everyday life. The Race Classification Board (RCB), which during the 1960s sat at the High Court Annex in Cape Town city centre, was charged with policing these categories. It was this legacy of racist discrimination and its effects on the psyche of South Africans that the Sunday Times wanted to foreground as a topic for reflection when they commissioned Roderick (Rod) Sauls to design and install a commemorative artwork. The narrative was selected, researched and composed by journalist Sue Valentine. It stated: In the 1960s, a room in what is now the High Court Annex was the scene of formal hearings of the most bizarre and humiliating kind as ordinary people came before an appeal panel to argue about what ‘race’ they should be labelled. The classification was subjective, and families were split apart when paler or darker skinned children or parents – or those with curlier hair, or different features – were placed in separate categories.9
Sauls’s professional credentials distinguished him as well suited for the project. Born and raised in District Six, a site of race-based forced removals, Sauls was engaged in pursuing a PhD in art and education at the University of the Western Cape at the time of the commission. He also worked at the District Six Museum, an important institution commemorating the histories of forced removals in Cape Town (Rassool and Prosalendis 2001). He clearly had a close connection to this particular narrative, which was one criterion used for the selection of artists commissioned for the project.10 (Figure 2.1) Sauls developed a concept for the RCB narrative that engaged with the elaborate textual culture of the apartheid legislative apparatus and its real material affects and effects. The Population Registration Act of 1950 mandated that all South Africans be racially classified at birth as white, black or coloured. The RCB, located in a room in the High Court Annex on Queen Victoria Street in
Figure 2.1 Race Reclassification Board memorial, Cape Town.
central Cape Town, would adjudicate appeals for reclassification. Board members would use arbitrary, humiliating criteria such as anatomical measurements to adjudicate the merit of such appeals. Highlighting the life-altering significance of these capricious classifications, Sauls developed a concept comprised of a pair of wooden and concrete public benches that were respectively designated ‘Whites Only’ and ‘Non-Whites Only’, in reference to the Separate Amenities Act of 1953. The Act demarcated public amenities on the basis of race. Sauls’s artwork engaged with the legal power of apartheid authority: the wooden slats of the benches were inscribed with clauses from the Population Registration Act, and quotes from the Government Gazette about incidents of reclassification.11 Officially titled the Race Classification Benches, Sauls’s first working title was Bankie Gedagte which, translated literally from Afrikaans, meant ‘bench thoughts’, an idiomatic reference to Cape Afrikaans patois.12 The pejorative ascription was not meant to cast aspersion on the publics who may have internalized the apartheid era racial demarcation of urban space. Instead, it was intended to call attention to the feelings of fear that such designations were meant to engender. As Sauls explained, ‘In the old days, because of how people were divided between non-whites and whites, people would walk past a bench [designated white] and never sit there. There was nobody around but still they would not sit there; people were just scared.’13
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
The title of the benches captured its symbolic meanings because Sauls’s original proposal claimed that they were meant to signify the notions of ‘body and soul’, with ‘the three dimensional construction of the bench’ representing the physical body, and the text inscribed thereon, standing as ‘a symbol of the soul’.14 By developing a concept that drew attention to the subtle yet painful petty denigrations the apartheid legal apparatus instituted around racial inscription on the bodies and in the souls of South Africans, Bankie Gedagte highlighted the affective power of institutionalized racism as inscribed in material space. The memorial therefore reflected on the legacy of a denigrating legal apparatus that transformed the widespread experience of urban space and its effect on the body and soul of black South Africans’. The memorial was a provocative, popular attraction for passers-by. During fieldwork observation in 2010, it became clear to me that pedestrians who noticed the benches typically perceived them as absurd, as if it was ludicrous that such distasteful public markers of apartheid segregation could still remain in place. Indeed, all such markers had been quickly removed from the public sphere after the fall of apartheid. Whatever their perceived visibility or authenticity in representing a palpable yet almost-forgotten aspect of social history, the benches could also evoke heavy emotions and memories. This was made evident in an encounter I had with a middle-aged, coloured gentleman while sitting on the benches. When I asked him whether it would have been good to retain some of these signs as a reminder to young people, my interlocutor, whom I will name Matthew, said the memorials evoked strong feelings about apartheid that were best forgotten. ‘No, it’s derogatory to us [people of colour].’ Reason being, ‘If you see some of the signs it brings back that bad memories of the time we had … you see we all trying to forget it … because of the bad experiences that most of us had.’ Sometimes, commemoration of the bad past for better futures could simply arouse bad feelings that some would prefer to never feel again. As he explained, ‘The thing is this, it’s a thing that we are trying to forget and don’t want to remind our children what we went through and we want our children to grow up to be equal.’ The past, and the burden of bad feelings about being made to feel inferior, through petty humiliation, was not something that needed to be remembered but, rather, forgotten. He also provided some insight into how the race classification system worked, saying: Time of apartheid … if a woman gives birth and she wants to go and register that child … you had to physically take your child to that counter, there’s a small window … an old white woman, a white lady that hasn’t got any education works
behind that counter … she looks at the child, she looks at the type of weave of the child’s hair, then she will decide ‘coloured’, ‘black’, ‘Other coloured’. That’s how they classified us.
While triggering unhappy memories, the memorial was not so much vandalized as ruined through exposure, or what is sometimes referred to as wear and tear. Over time, the inscriptions on the wooden slats faded into obscurity as the glossy, varnished finish became weathered and worn. One of the slats was broken, and by the time Mathew shared his story with me, the memorial was in a state of serious disrepair.15 Sauls was not, however, concerned with the state of his piece but, instead, viewed its deterioration as part of the natural life of a public artwork.16 This natural deterioration could be interpreted as a metaphor for the ephemerality of the feelings and memories the benches evoked in this interlocutor. It served as a material reminder of how, over time, the bad memories related to the difficult feelings of discriminatory racial classification were indeed slowly being forgotten. The material frailty of the RCB Benches therefore indexed how touch and physical interaction through constant use and weathering interfaced with notions of memory and the painful feelings about race and apartheid. Tapping into the feelings of ordinary passers-by who suffered injustice and humiliation, the benches also touched on the emotions papered over by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission process and pointed to a national body politic that was still quietly grappling with the bad memories, the hurt and the pain of the apartheid past.17
Pipes of protest Early on the morning of 31 May 1981, a slight of stature, blond student named Bruce Fordyce joined thousands of runners in Durban to compete in that year’s Comrades Marathon. Established by Vic Chapman in 1921 as a tribute for the First World War soldiers, this ultra-marathon was meant to celebrate ‘camaraderie and mankind’s ability to triumph over adversity’. Staged annually on what was known as Commonwealth Day, 24 May, the inaugural marathon covered 89 kilometres (55 miles) of hilly terrain between Durban and Pietermaritzburg. The 1981 race did not, however, mark the celebration of these English, commonwealth traditions but was instead scheduled to coincide with the twentieth anniversary of Republic Day, a public holiday that commemorated the apartheid state’s break from the commonwealth family of nations.
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
Bowing to political pressure, organizers of the marathon incorporated the race into nation-wide state-sanctioned festivals (Cameron-Dow 2011). Fordyce and a number of other runners protested the celebration of Republic Day by wearing black armbands. Walking up to the starting line, he was booed, sprayed with water and bombarded with tomatoes. Despite this animosity, he won the race in record time and, subsequently, a further eight times in a row, showing his mettle and unrivalled athletic prowess. To quote from the official STHP narrative text, ‘Fordyce, who is acknowledged to be one of the world’s greatest long distance runners, has said that “wearing the black armband to protest apartheid that day was, and is, one of the proudest moments in my life”.’18 Journalist Shelly Said researched this virtually forgotten moment of courageous sports political protest, and Doung Jahangeer was commissioned to design and install a public artwork honouring Fordyce. It was to be sited opposite the Royal Hotel in Durban City Centre, very near where Fordyce was first ridiculed. Using 40 mm polished steel rods, Jahangeer developed a concept that reflected the narrative’s predominant themes of running and resistance. Steel rods of two-metre lengths were shaped and fused into an abstract, shimmering fascicle representing a runner. When some of the pipes were pulled, the sculpture would vibrate as if mimicking the rhythmical cadence of a runner in motion. Dubbed ‘Pipes of Protest’ by one local newspaper, the memorial vividly reflected the themes of movement and opposition that flowed through the occasion of the black armband protest (Figure 2.2).19 Within a month of its installation, one of the steel rods was crudely broken off. Later, the plaque was stolen, and gradually, more of the rods were broken off until the memorial was entirely destroyed.20 This was not wear and tear. Despite its interactive element rendering the piece vulnerable to the stress of excessive force, its polished steel held little monetary value, and as an abstract representation with no clear political import, it was reasonable to assume that the vandalism was motivated by undefined malice. Initially, Jahangeer was upset and hurt by the news. But gradually, he came to view the destruction as representing an elaboration of a set of concepts, such as in-betweeness, the constitution of apartheid in urban space and the place of public art in the third world, that he had been thinking about in the years leading up to the commission. Jahangeer construed in-betweeness in both personal and political terms. On the one hand, it registered in his identity as a South African-based ‘Mauritianborn, Creole, Muslim-raised male of Indian descent’.21 And on the other, in-betweenness registered in his experience of Durban’s urban landscape. As he explained, ‘When I started walking, I noticed this constant stream of people
Figure 2.2 Republic Day Protest memorial, Durban.
walking along the freeway, hanging around desolate parking lots and underneath freeways. These places are generally known as lost, neutral or non-spaces.’22 Neither here nor there, these lost spaces inspired him to launch a project called CityWalks, guided walking tours that focused on ‘investigating spaces of in-between, in a city urban area’.23 Walking the side streets of Durban, observing the flow of people between places, Jahangeer imagined himself actively engaging with Michel de Certeau’s (1984) notions of tactics and strategies while navigating the modern apartheid-designed cityscape. Relatedly, he was also concerned with the racial constitution of urban space and how and in what ways it related to notions of freedom and citizenship. In his observation, after apartheid ‘non-white South Africans continued to use public spaces merely as a means to an end’, like moving from one part of the city to the other or for setting up shops to sell goods. This instrumentalist utilization of public space perpetuated the imposed notion that ‘public spaces were places where they [ordinary city dwellers] were not allowed to be free’ (Jahangeer 2012: 9). He considered public art the best means for interpreting the complexities of public space and a critical tool that could potentially interrupt their historic legacies of containment, control and constraint. Through the production of new public art, Jahangeer (2012) believed he could constitute new public spaces that would facilitate the richer participation of the marginalized in public life.
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
One of his first experiments testing this theory about public space and art was his contribution to the collaborative art project Memories of Modernity in 2006, for which he came up with a concept titled Urbanamnesia. Comprised of a knot of coiled steel wires, the art intervention was mounted underneath a Durban highway underpass. Over time, it was gradually broken and eventually destroyed by unknown members of the public: ‘The express purpose of the piece was to document its demise as it slowly became re-appropriated by steel recyclers until it disappeared entirely. The process took no more than a couple of weeks’ (Jahangeer 2012: 10). In its decay, deterioration and eventual destruction, Urbanamnesia did not register notions of erasure and forgetting as much as it marked the recovery of the meaning of public art in ‘lost’ urban space. Against this background, Jahangeer came to see the creeping destruction of the STHP memorial not as a further instance of wanton vandalism on the part of a silent, invisible mob but rather a creative act of deconstruction that communicated sophisticated relationships between notions of public art and urban space in the post-apartheid cityscape. ‘Public art in the context of the third world needs to be reassessed in terms of what function it is actually serving. If it is about the “upliftment” of the city dwellers, then it cannot really exist in the form that public art traditionally has,’ he observed (Jahangeer 2012: 12). Here, Jahangeer appeared to invoke W. J. T. Mitchell’s (1990) notion of public art as engendering violence. Following Mitchell’s reasoning, Jahangeer seemed to suggest that third world public art was violent because it perpetuated value systems misaligned with the reality of its audience. Put another way, public art violently imposed the idea of art as an inherent aesthetic good, as uplifting and beneficial, on its audience. Post-apartheid urban space called for a new way of interpreting the constitution of public art and how and in what ways it was meant to configure relations between places and publics. By abandoning the notion of public art as an inherent public good, Jahangeer (2012) was able to appreciate the subversive, critical power of destruction of a work of art as a creative act that progressively revealed the true nature of ordinary life in the city. Erecting public art then became an ‘effective and qualitative détournement of a practice of ‘civilized’ art into the participatory public where art became as much a process of investigation as it is a final intervention’ (Jahangeer 2012: 10). Rerouting the flows of meaning forms of public art were meant to initiate, Jahangeer attempted to open up debate about public art practice itself. Against the background of Jahangeer’s (2012) ongoing exploration of the nature and locus of public art, the everyday and the legacies of racial urban
planning, the vandalism perpetrated against the Bruce Fordyce memorial could be reinterpreted as an elaborate critique of the prevailing urban spatial order carried out by a virtually invisible, yet highly conspicuous public who harboured feelings of being left out. This was a non-white, poor and urban-dwelling counterpublic, ‘a subset of the public … constituted through a conflictual relation to the dominant public’ (Warner 2002: 423). Physically handling, forcing and eventually breaking the steel frame of the Bruce Fordyce memorial, this counterpublic could be seen to be dramatically exerting force over material in an urban landscape from which they felt removed. Figuring motion and resistance, powerlessness and invisibility, the Bruce Fordyce memorial could be construed as referencing this public’s threshold of tolerance for forces constraining postapartheid urban space and their sense of not being seen and heard, of belonging.
A prophetess On the morning of 6 December 1922, Nontetha Nkwenkwe appeared in the King William’s Town Magistrates Court, in present-day Eastern Cape Province, on charges of inciting political unrest. Leader of a rural isiXhosa revivalist movement, Nontetha was considered a prophet with a gift for divining the word of God. She preached a millennial gospel of the imminent arrival of Jesus and commanded her followers to turn to a pure life in Christ. Over time, Nontetha’s growing following in rural areas around King William’s Town came under scrutiny, especially after the 1912 Bull Hoek Massacre where over 180 members of the Israelites movement were gunned down by police officers seeking to push them off occupied land.24 Anticipating a similar encounter with Nontetha, authorities pre-emptively arrested her. On the morning of her court appearance, however, hundreds of her followers gathered outside the courthouse to protest her innocence. Fearing an uprising, officials chose to institutionalize Nontetha in a psychiatric hospital rather than prosecute her. She would later be transferred to Pretoria (where she later died of cancer) in a further attempt to break her influence. Buried in a pauper’s grave, Nontetha Nkwenkwe virtually disappeared into historical obscurity (Edgar and Sapire 1999). The Sunday Times chose to erect a memorial to honour her, and selected the entrance of the King William’s Town magistrate’s court as the site. Researched by the journalist Jannette Bennet, the narrative was conceptualized by the artist Lynnley Watson. Known for her ceramic work, Watson chose realist sculpture as her medium, and decided on a bronze statuette placed on a raised plinth as
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
her concept. Working with the few visual references that remained of Nontetha, Watson sculpted an effigy that captured the power and grace of religious experience as a force of political resistance. The statuette therefore depicted Nontetha with her head held aloft, holding a staff in one hand, as if ‘walking in a trance, eyes closed; her head facing upwards, waiting on the word of God’.25 In this state of religious ecstasy, Nontetha posed with ‘one of her hands outstretched in supplication, and the other holding a staff ’ and a scarf at her feet ‘on which her followers could kneel’.26 Her face held an expression of ‘anticipation and anxiety’, and her strident, bold posture was meant to convey the sense of ‘peace that came with religious communication with God, and the comfort and strength she found in this’.27 Charged with these deep religious meanings, it needs to be noted that the arts management team responsible for the memorials in the Eastern Cape held the statue in especially high regard, making it the subject of a prayer for protection after having seen the destruction of other memorials around the country.28 In its reduced stature and fine detail, the sculpture was a touching reflection of Nontetha’s humanity as a charismatic religious leader who sensitively channelled the grace of a mysterious, yet awesome Christian God on behalf of a host of believers. Since many of the memorials in this region were vandalized soon after their unveiling, there was reason for concern when it came to the protection of the Nontetha memorial, which was one of the last to be installed. To illustrate, the memorial dedicated to the Prophet Enoch Mgijima and the BulHoek Massacre, just outside Queens Town, was toppled by members of a rival faction of the Israelite church who were angry about its specific location. The Freedom to Dream, Zach Taljaard’s memorial commemorating the Eastern Beach protest of 1989 in East London, where black protestors occupied a section of beach designated for whites only, was damaged not more than a week after being unveiled. Featuring a fibreglass cast of a boy seated on a bench and holding a model sailing boat, the memorial was permanently removed after members of the public smashed the sculpture’s head in. To my knowledge it has not been reinstalled.29 One of the more serious public cases of vandalism was perpetrated against one of the well-known memorials erected in the province. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu memorial statue, designed by Anton Momberg, and located outside the East London City Hall, commemorated the second day of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings in the Hall, when Tutu memorably broke down and wept. This sensitive artwork depicting a smaller than life Tutu presiding over the proceedings from behind a desk was seriously damaged when ‘its head was chopped off ’ and abandoned at the site by vandals.30
The Buffalo City Mayor Zintle Peter was outraged, saying, ‘I am both horrified and extremely disappointed that a symbol of an internationally respected icon of our struggle and human rights can be desecrated in this way.’31 The statue remained headless for a year, covered in a black shroud while the Buffalo City Municipality negotiated with the Sunday Times and Art at Work, the company that managed the art installation, about the cost of the repairs.32 Neglect and disrepair appeared to be a common thread in the life of the Sunday Times memorials. The STHP memorials erected in the Eastern Cape appeared to be particularly susceptible to the heavy hand of opportunistic or dissatisfied counterpublics. Nontetha Nkwenkwe’s narrative and the memorial itself appeared to be steeped in many protective layers of religious meaning. When Professor Robert Edgar revived her tragic life story by researching the details of her final years in Pretoria, and eventually discovered and returned her remains for reburial in her hometown of Mnqaba in 1998, her followers claimed that he had fulfilled her prophecy.33 And recall the informal prayers cast upon it before its installation as a way of protecting it from vandalism. Prophecy and prayer could, however, not protect the statuette of Nontetha erected outside the King William’s Town magistrate’s court (Figure 2.3).
Figure 2.3 Remains of the Nontetha Nkwenkwe memorial, King William’s Town 2010.
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
When I visited the site in early 2010, all that remained was the plinth and the plaque. The statuette had been stolen. An official at a heritage institution in a nearby vicinity offered what appeared to be an explanation, saying that the statuette had been loosened over time by passers-by who had handled it uncaringly. Eventually it was left in a very precarious state. It was then that a group of men approached the heritage institution and explained that they were officials from a regional heritage body dispatched with the instruction to remove and store the statue for safekeeping. The official explained the removal was a kind of official ceremony itself, with a police officer and a lawyer present to witness the statue’s de-installation. But the statue was never archived for safekeeping as it was later discovered that the men were criminals who had stolen it purely for material gain. Whether a fabulous tale or not, the official’s story suggested that this complex ruse figured transgressive touch, of handling material property without authority, as imbricating the memorial into the webs of political and bureaucratic power of official state institutions. Discursively dispatching the statue into the oblivion of archival space, the thieves in this official’s narrative seemed to be delivering a commentary on the unquestioned authority of state officials and the institutions they represented, and, ironically, affirmed the very regimes of legal authority that had ultimately sealed Nontetha’s fate.
A textbook case The youth uprisings of 16 June 1976, when students gathered to organize a march to protest against the Bantu Education Department’s institution of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction, command a central place in the nation’s cultural memory. It spawned a number of commemorative projects across Soweto, in Johannesburg, many of which were concentrated on a vacant plot opposite Morris Isaacson High School (see Oei and Staal 2011). These included a statuette for Hector Pieterson, the first and most widely reported student to be killed, and others who were injured or died in the events that unfolded on that day. The Sunday Times also chose to participate in this commemorative culture, choosing, per its general narrative mandate of newsworthiness, to place emphasis on the origins and agents that initiated the event. This is made clear in the narrative description of the memorial, which reads: At 8am on June 16, 1976, Tsietsi Mashinini interrupted the school assembly to lead the first group of students out of the gates and on the march that started the Soweto uprising. They were protesting the use of Afrikaans in schools. A reward
was posted for his capture. … [Mashinini] escaped detection by dressing up as a girl. After the march he never slept at home again and fled the country two months later.34
This narrative was researched and written by Gillian Anstey, the journalist responsible for the Johannesburg area. This memorial did not focus so much on the student mass action as on Tsietsi Mashinini’s role in leading the student masses in the march against the oppressive policies of the apartheid regime. Tsietsi Mashinini was a charismatic, intelligent and handsome young man who became politically conscientized as a learner at Morris Isaacson High School. Three days before the protest, on 13 June, Tsietsi Mashinini was elected the chairperson of the Action Committee established to coordinate activities. In the days leading up to 16 June, he developed a plan for students from schools throughout Soweto to join a march that would culminate in a mass rally at the Orlando stadium. Anticipating an encounter with the police, Mashinini insisted that the march be peaceful. On the morning of 16 June, he rallied students at Morris Isaacson High School to march, initiating the protest that would rock the country. Having experienced the June 1976 riots first-hand as a boy, Johannes Phokela, the artist commissioned for this narrative, was inspired to design an art piece in the form of a mural, but one that was sculptural in form. In so doing, he wanted to emphasize ‘hope more than anything else’.35 Situated on the plot opposite Morris Isaacson High School, his memorial sculpture was shaped in the form of an open textbook placed on a raised plinth and directed to face the entrance of Morris Isaacson High. As he explained, ‘After much experimentation, I decided to do a wall that looked like a textbook. It is covered in tiles and on a podium which could be used for other projects, such as poetry sessions.’36 The tableau facing the school featured a collage of images and text in the shape of a map showing the route the march took through Soweto. It depicted a prominent image of Mashinini in the centre and was peppered with iconic images of other unnamed students and the slogans and exclamations of defiance they passionately exclaimed on the day. The plaque was placed on the rear, and the book was titled, ‘June 16, 1976, Wait This Is Our Day!’ Through placing emphasis on Mashinini, the memorial therefore served as a personalized commemoration of the values and ideology of the unknown 1976 youth he inspired, doing so through a keen reflection on the social significance of the school as a locus of political action. How have the memorial’s intended audience – present-day learners – received the commemorative piece?37 How has this memorial touched its intended audience? When I visited the site in August 2010, the memorial had been seriously defaced. The tiles of the collage were broken or cracked, and
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
the images had faded due to exposure. Walking around the back, I discovered that the plaque had been removed. More strikingly, the dark rear surface was covered in neon-yellow graffiti. Other Sunday Times memorials erected in the Johannesburg area suffered similar vandalism.38 While the other cases of vandalism left few clear indicators of reception and motivation, the defacement of the Mashinini memorial was a more accessible archive of public sentiment. The luminous-yellow writing adorning its rear presented as a complex text that expressed opinionated perceptions about school attendance and township youth life. It marked the constitution of a public insofar as ‘a public space is the social space created by the reflexive circulation of discourse’ (Warner 2002: 420). Discounting the other, smaller inscriptions that appear on the memorial, this main body of text can be read as a reflection of the perceptions of one of the memorial’s intended publics. Using a series of phrases and terms that appear on the sculpture, peeling through the layers of discourse it relates to, it is possible to interpret how and in what ways the memorial may have affected this public and the kinds of feelings it evoked. First, the wild, profanity-strewn graffiti sprayed across the back of the memorial directly addressed the issue of the school as an institution of discipline and control. This was reflected in the plain but potent phrase ‘school is bullshit!’ Ironically signalling solidarity with the values of their 1976 predecessors, despite the vast difference in sociopolitical context, the redactor also confirmed the memorial’s success in tapping into public feeling about a relevant and enduring social issue.39 Second, the graffiti brought attention to the feelings and experience of being a township youth living in post-apartheid South Africa. This was evidenced by the phrase ‘Life has no Guarantees, call 1011’ – a reference to the official emergency rescue number, which appeared to refer to the anxieties of living in an unpredictable world where only distant agents of the state provided a sense of security. Third, the graffiti focused on the social significance of touch by reflecting on the power dynamics that underwrote forms of gendered intimate bodily contact. For example, the phrase ‘Kiss my black ass!’ spoke to a fascination with tactility and the skin through its implicit contemplation of intimate oral contact with a racialized body. As Anthony Synnott (1993: 164–70) has shown, the sense of touch could be gendered and used to maintain particular gender distinctions and hierarchies of association and power.40 Alternately the phrase ‘Pussy cum to those who wait’ sprayed down the spine of the book, highlighted the objectification of women’s bodies and the violent corporeal desires of contemporary male youths. In this context, Michael Warner (2002: 417) remarks that ‘public speech can have great urgency and intimate import’ sharp,
Figure 2.4 Tsietsi Mashinini 16 June memorial, Soweto, Johannesburg.
misogynistic overtones. These nuggets of public speech touched on notions of masculinity, femininity and the unequal, even violent gender dynamics among township youths (Figure 2.4). Taking the Tsietsi Mashinini memorial’s form literally, it is apparent that it emphasized the political significance of the school as an institution of civil education and disobedience and the political significance of the textbook as an educational tool. The memorial could therefore be seen as representing the past as a contested discursive space, where students protested against the use of a particular language as a medium of instruction. The vivid, expressive graffiti defacing the memorial therefore manifests as an evocative public commentary that ironically affirmed the memorial’s discursive figuration of the past. Touching the memorial, breaking its tiles, handling the spray can to mark bold messages across its vast black canvas, the perpetrators also sought to outline their feelings of defiant rebellion against institutional authority, assert particular versions of masculinity and cast opinions about the angst-ridden world of township life in Johannesburg.
Blame For the journalists, arts administrators and artists involved in the project, the dilapidated condition of many of the memorials was painful. It felt like a failure.
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
As Charlotte Bauer declared, it was ‘a damn shame’.41 Participants tried to make sense of the phenomenon by attributing blame. The failure of the sensitive creativity expressed in the material heritage forms to capture the hearts of the South African publics they addressed only made sense through ascribing blame to the Sunday Times for a lack of real long-term financial commitment or the South African public’s lacking a culture of civic value. The Sunday Times was blamed for failing to make adequate financial provision for the long-term maintenance of the memorials. As Sabine Marschall (2010b: 51) observed, the Sunday Times ‘assured municipalities from the outset that maintenance costs would be borne by the newspaper’, yet ‘no funds were actually set aside for this purpose’. Because no financial provision was made for the maintenance of the memorials, their ‘donation’ could be construed as a form of abandonment, a form of neglect that could also be seen as staging the conditions for the memorials’ ruination. What is elided in these ascriptions is whether the Sunday Times’ aesthetic choices and initial financial investment doomed the project from the beginning. Were the artists provided with sufficient material resources to design artworks that would better stand the test of time? By stipulating that the memorials incorporate an element of public interaction, did the Sunday Times not leave the memorials vulnerable to such destruction? What kinds of resources and alternate aesthetic choices could have been employed in designing interactive memorials of such variety that would be more impervious to acts of defacement? Participants also remarked that the ruination represented an overly ambitious miscalculation of the South African public’s appreciation of public art: the public just could not handle it. As former Sunday Times editor Mondli Makhanya explained, the newspaper anticipated this, forging ahead despite feelings of trepidation about the consequences of putting the works of art out in the public domain: ‘It was a risk that we knew from the onset … people in the industry, artists, municipalities and so on were telling us that there were certain areas where they had to fence off public art works because they were just vandalized.’42 Despite looming fear about the possible public life of the memorials, and scepticism about the South African public’s perceived tolerance for such a project, Mondli Makhanya insisted that the Sunday Times had to grasp the nettle and go ahead. As he explained, But the question is do you sit back and wait, do you sit back and wait another fifty years for the public to be ready? … Some people said, ‘Are you crazy wanting to put something like that here?’ … But you know what? You actually have to hope that people will get to appreciate their heritage and get to appreciate art.43
The process of erecting artistic memorials in places where neglect seemed to reign required a suspension of judgement, fortitude and blind faith. Commenting on the ruined memorials, Michael Barry, one of the arts administrators, explained, in all sympathy, ‘What is it with these people, hey? You have to have nerves of steel when you put these things out there.’44 Other stakeholders could also be drawn into sharing the burden of responsibility for the state of the memorials. Sabine Marschall (2011) argues that municipalities and communities of immediate interest should also take some responsibility because, in many cases, they failed to take advantage of the memorials for tourism or public history projects. While parties contest the ruins of the material component of the STHP, some of the memorials endure in public spaces all across South Africa, whether in a defaced, dilapidated state, or rarely in a pristine condition, especially in places where they were appropriated by, or perceived to be under the care of, an immediate community of interest.
Conclusion Pitched between arguments about immature civic culture and a lack of financial commitment, the question of whether the vandalism of some of the memorials indeed marked the failure of the STHP. These attempts to work out who was responsible for the destruction of the Sunday Times memorials concerned deliberations about who bore the burden of responsibility for arbitrating over notions of public history and high culture as a force of influence over civic values that pervaded society. Framed in this way, these contests alluded to another central stake in this debate, which Sabine Marschall (2010b: 54) defines as the question of how and in what ways we can gauge the efficacy of the memorials: ‘Do they foster a democratic exchange about the meaning of the past, which is connected to public debate and participation in civil society?’ I have tried to engage with this question by arguing for ruination and its usefulness for breaking down the relationship between the Sunday Times and the publics it attempted to address. To do this, I used both the material and conceptual possibilities of the notion of touch to explore the relationship between the newspaper and the publics it wanted to foster. Using touch as a conceptual modality for reception, I also explored the public’s feelings about the memorials, the kinds of histories they were meant to commemorate as well as public art and other social issues. Taking the possibilities of the sense of touch further, I tried to show the meaningfulness of ruination as a practice that concerned the
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
working out of publicness in South Africa through physical acts of engagement and the destruction of four STHP memorials. Exploring relationships among notions of ruination, touch and public feeling in different cities, I have engaged with how and in what ways these incidents marked instances of exchange about the meaning of the past as occasions of debate about public space, belonging and citizenship. By engaging with materiality, publicness and public feeling, I have hoped to argue that such a creative combination of these concepts contributes to the study of heritage and the senses by showing how practices engaging with material cultural forms staged representative sets of public feeling. In the following chapter, we will see how feelings about belonging and arguments for heritage recognition are worked out not through touch, but in the memories evoked by scents and aromas of places in the past.
Fragrances and forced removal: Memory, smell and urban displacement in Cape Town
Introduction One of the first things I did after relocating to Berlin in 2017 was to put up a black and white poster of a mid-twentieth-century scene from my hometown of Cape Town. It features a nattily dressed gentleman in the company of two women engulfed by flowers. They are flower sellers sitting in Adderley Street, in the heart of Cape Town. The image is a strong reminder of the inner-city flower market situated in a shaded alley brimming with colourful flowers and cooling scents that cut through the hot, smoggy inner-city air. Yet it wasn’t just the contents of the image that held my attention so intensely. The print had a back story that made the sweet-smelling nostalgia it triggered much more poignant. The print was one of a series on flower sellers and the history of flower selling in the city produced by historian Melanie Boehi who designed them using photographs recovered from archives in Cape Town. Working with contemporary flower sellers, Boehi curated the prints and a series of postcards into an exhibition experiment called Cape Town Floriography. Launched on Heritage Day, 2016, the prints were distributed among flower sellers to use as wrapping, which effectively and purposefully ‘changed the cycle’ of using waste newsprint for the same purpose.1 Setting the images of the history of flower selling into circulation on Heritage Day, the Cape Town Floriography Project asserted the social significance, indeed the heritage significance, of the flower sellers in the city by drawing on the fleeting materiality of the print culture essential to their trade. I would sometimes turn to my print for inspiration when trying to think about smell, nostalgia and forced removal. In doing so, I often grappled with what appeared to be one of the image’s main contradictions: that it depicted a scene of traders who circulated the scent and colour of flowers
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in the city centre, but as black and coloured traders they experienced racial discrimination that forced them to live at its periphery. How can we reconcile the senses, and the sense of smell in particular, with the urban experience of displacement? The playwright and art activist Mike van Graan plots one course in his Foreword to the book Imagining the City: Memories and Cultures in Cape Town. One of the book’s strengths he remarked was that ‘it contributes to public discourse and debate about a vision for, and ownership of the city by affirming the memory (and chosen forgetfulness) of some of its inhabitants’ (van Graan 2007: vi). It did so, he argued, by placing the people ‘at the centre of memory’, but also ‘at the centre of historical and contemporary experience’, positioning them as important agents with the potential to ‘re-imagine and own the city of Cape Town’ (van Graan 2007: v). In his formulation of the contest over historical and symbolic claims to and about the city of Cape Town, van Graan advocated for a special interpretation of these interlocutors as ‘human beings who laugh, who cry, who hope, who fear, who suffer loss and who have dreams’, who ‘experienced life and their environment with all of their senses: touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste’ (van Graan 2007: v). The people stood in opposition to the faceless elites, politicians and bureaucrats, figures of officialdom, who were invested in claiming and promoting touristic images of the city as well managed, naturally pristine and clean and available for the consumption by those who had the means to access it. This interpretation of the city negated the history of apartheid era spatial violence and the deep, continuing forms of inequality it helped sustain. Van Graan’s invocation of the people therefore served to highlight the fulsome sensory experience of commoners as a collective cultural memory mobilized in a struggle over who could claim ownership over the city: ‘Cape Town is still a city in the making. The question is, whose tastes, smells, feelings, sights and sounds will come to prevail in defining the character and experience of the city?’ (2007: v–vi). The unfolding visually resonant touristic image of the city promoted by the elite was contested in the realm of the senses: ‘On the underside of officialdom, however, are “the people” with their diverse values … who will engage in ongoing conscious and unconscious struggles for hegemony of tastes, feelings, sights, sounds and smells’ (van Graan 2007: v). Arguing for the people over officialdom, van Graan (2007) therefore framed the contested interpretation of the city as unravelling in a struggle over and on the basis of the senses. Taking up this call for recognizing the social significance of the senses in the history of Cape Town, in this chapter I want to think about smell and belonging in the city. I want to interpret the social significance of aromas, smells and
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smelling that feature in stories of loss, forced displacement and memories of home. The sense of smell has a potent, distinct set of qualities that waft through the narratives discussed in this chapter in different ways. The sense of smell ‘is cultural, hence a social and historical phenomenon’ (Classen, Howes and Synnott 1994: 3; original emphasis). Culturally located and socially shared, ‘Smell can evoke strong emotional responses’, with a single scent attracting markedly different, even opposing affective responses (Classen, Howes and Synnott 1994: 2). Under different conditions the smell of Cape Town’s flower market can evoke fear and revulsion. Historically, it has ranked as the lowest of the five senses, denigrated as the sense of madness and savages (Classen, Howes and Synnott 1994). This indicates how smell has been implicated in the social classification of people and ordering, establishing boundaries between insiders and others (Classen 1992) and racial often racist demarcations (Smith 2006: 80–3). Yet while aromas can be drawn upon to order the social world as a sense modality in its own right, it presents as substantively and conceptually illusive: ‘Smells are indeed ephemeral’ (Reinarz 2014: 4). They are elusive, mobile and hard to locate in space, moving invisibly, yet they remain detectable with the nose. Conceptually it enables fresh analysis of spatial, social and temporal relations: in the same way that incense can constitute sacred space it also spills over and beyond the bounds of material space (Howes 1987), while memories of religious activities suggest smells can symbolically drift across time. ‘Odours cannot be readily contained, they escape and cross boundaries’ and resist being captured and replicated in the same way light, sound and flavour can (Classen, Howes and Synnott 1994: 5). This substantive illusiveness effuses through its conceptual properties as, for example, it resists easy linguistic description, since ‘the language of smell has always been underdeveloped. In general odours smell like something else’ (Reinarz 2014: 5). Smell appears in a small but growing literature addressing cultural heritage. Rosabelle Boswell (2008) has, as signalled in the Introduction, investigated the relationships between fragrance, heritage and identity in Zanzibar, revealing local olfactory registers significance for rites of passage, religion and identity, but also the significance of scent as a kind of intangible heritage that is widespread in the Indian Ocean world. ‘Smells can be fundamental in shaping who we are, where we belong and how we experience encounters with different cultures,’ argue Cecilia Bembibre and Matija Strlič (2017: 2). Their appraisal of existing scholarly work shows that ‘odour can be part of the local identity through history; that a central place for olfactory experiences in a culture results in a much wider vocabulary to discuss smells; and that travel and tourism offer an
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
opportunity to approach the world with our noses’ (Cecilia Bembibre and Matija Strlič 2017: 2). Furthermore, ‘Experiencing what the world smelled like in the past enriches our knowledge of it, and, because of the unique relation between odours and memories, allows us to engage with our history in a more emotional way’ (Cecilia Bembibre and Matija Strlič 2017: 2). Smelling and smells have also been strongly associated with memory and recollection, particularly recollections of home (Synnott 1993: 186). Dennis Waskul and his colleagues argue that ultimately ‘recollection is a sense act: a memory is actively brought to bear in idealized sentiments’ linked to the feeling of nostalgia (Waskul, Vannini and Wilson 2009: 15). Almagor has pointed out that smells are particularly marked for those who leave and return from their home societies, which suggests that nostalgia is the ‘typical outcome of olfactory sensations’ (as cited in Waskul, Vannini and Wilson 2009: 16). In this chapter, I will draw on these conceptual properties of smell related to the constitution of place and the longing for home as they breeze through the memories of victims of forced removal, and use them to unpack the contested, olfactory-based social classifications that led to forced removal in Cape Town. The chapter analyses smell memories that appear in primary and secondary sources recounting life before and after the forced removal of the non-white residents of areas such as District Six in Cape Town. As will be discussed in more detail below, the reclassification of this area as ‘for whites only’ in 1966, pursuant to the Group Areas Act resulted in over 50,000 people being evicted from the inner city.2 Much has been written about the politics of memory regarding District Six (see, for example, Thornberry 2003; McEachern 1998; Malan and Soudien 2002; Trotter 2006; Rassool 2000; Jeppie and Soudien 1990) and its representation in the media and popular culture as well as academic writing (Marquard 1995; Coombes 2003). The scholarly literature has emphasized that the District Six narrative should be engaged with critically so as to bring out the complexities and contradictions of oral accounts that can often romanticize life before forced eviction. I am mindful of these scholarly criticisms, and have therefore made a point of contextualizing my sensitized reading of the District Six narrative with recollections from evictees from other sites of forced removal in the city. This chapter contributes to a small but important body of scholarship highlighted by Jacob Dlamini in the beginning of this book and by Mike van Graan cited above by adding depth to analyses of the historical everyday and the significance of biographic archives of formerly marginalized groups for contemporary heritage-based social justice initiatives.
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My contribution latches onto the fragrances that perfume recollections of home before and after forced removal to show what a sensory studies approach to oral history archives might look like. I use Jim Drobnick’s (2002; 2006) notion of toposmia, which refers to how aromas are situated in space and engender notions of place, to interpret smell memories shared by victims of apartheid era forced removal in Cape Town. I show how these situated, odorized recollections contributed to notions of place that challenged the official, racist olfactory classifications of these cosmopolitan urban communities. These recollections formed part of an archive mobilized in contemporary struggles for the official recognition of traumatic displacement, and for land restitution and return championed through memory projects and community museums such as the District Six Museum. The latter explicitly invoked heritage and counter memory for social and historical justice. The chapter therefore illustrates how the aromas that drift through this history of racialized urban violence were a sensuous space in which the right to the city and belonging was claimed and contested.
Sanitation and forced removals Reflecting on the sensory world of township life, the journalist and historian Jacob Dlamini paid special attention to the sense of smell. Smell has personal and political potency. This is brought home by Dlamini’s recollection of the first time he smelt tear gas, ‘somewhat bitter, somewhat peppery – never pleasant’ (2009: 123). His first experience of its searing smell occurred in the early 1980s ‘in the form of a sharp, piercing scream … uttered by a young woman … overcome by fumes from a teargas canister fired by a policeman’ (Dlamini 2009: 123). Tear gas was deployed frequently to suppress political gatherings. Dlamini writes that in this case, the police cruelly and unnecessarily fired tear gas to disperse a religious gathering that took place on a weekend. The cloud of gas that engulfed the woman was picked up by the wind and enveloped him too, giving him ‘a taste of what had made the woman scream so’ (Dlamini 2009: 123). Running home, disorientated and unable to see, he tried to explain to his family what had happened to him. They all nodded knowingly, having all once experienced it’s fiery sting. Elaborating on the shared experience of the invisible violence of tear gas, Dlamini is quick to caution that this was not the dominant or only smell of the township. ‘There were times when [the townships] smelt of grilled meat,
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
burning plastic and many things in between’ (Dlamini 2009: 124). Even the public transport smelt. Amid ethnicized taxi violence, the personal experience of odour and smell could be raised as points of negotiation for peace that affected the whole community, as when, among other grievances, Katlehong residents pressed for Zulu taxi drivers (whom they alleged did not wash) ‘at least use deodorant to make their passengers’ journeys bearable’ (Dlamini 2009: 134). Drawing attention to the sociality of sensation and the shared experience of enveloping smells, Dlamini highlights that ‘you could not and cannot say that a township smells like this or like that. But you could say – and that is the point – that a township was and is a world of smells’ (2009: 124). The township brimmed with socially and historically significant smells. As Jacob Dlamini’s account indicates, township smells have histories. In what follows, I would like to provide a brief historical sketch of how race science and urban renewal were linked through the management of morally coded sensuous matter like smells in urban space to illustrate how struggles over urban space also revolved around smell. The forced removal of black population groups from highly desirable land under the auspices of urban racial segregation in Cape Town during the twentieth century can be interpreted as the official attempt to control and cleanse real and symbolic contaminants and their sensuous traces from the urban landscape. By the late nineteenth century Cape Town had gained a reputation as ‘the city of stinks’ due to inner-city overcrowding and inadequate public sanitation (Miraftab 2012: 289). This sensorial evocation of the city acquired a distinctly racial profile as the local press and political officials promoted the idea that stench, filth and disease attached to and emanated from black working-class inner-city dwellers. A late nineteenth-century Cape Times news report on the squalid living conditions of District Six residents was fetid with hyperbole that drew questionable associations between the residents’ unmanaged living conditions and their condition as subhumans: The upper end of Horstley Street is worse than a Native location, because a location has its inspector and at least some show of cleanliness is made. But here hundreds of Natives live like pigs in the muck. … Floors are thick with black grease and muck, and herded in each house of two rooms are a score or more of raw natives. … Of sanitary conditions there is next to none … what there is in a condition not fit for beasts. … Passing through the back door, the stench from a doorless hovel … made one long for a lash with which to bring home to those responsible for their criminal neglect. (as cited in Schoeman 1988: 23)
Fragrances and Forced Removal
When some of the first infections of bubonic plague were traced to residents of District Six in 1901, buildings in the area were cleared and demolished, their residents relocated to Ndabeni, just outside of the city, and later to Langa, which became the city’s first black township (Bickford-Smith, Van Heyningen and Worden 1999: 87). As the historian Deborah Hart explains, ‘Deteriorating conditions in District Six generated a response known in the annals of South African social history as the ‘sanitation syndrome’ (1990: 120). ‘Fears of a “black invasion” prompted moves to assemble and relocate African migrants on the outskirts of the city for the alleged reason of safeguarding public health’ (Hart 1990: 120). Shannon M. Jackson, a human geographer, points out ‘the Plague Administration sought no less than the mass removal of Cape Town’s African population, even though the number of Africans contracting the plague was less than either whites or coloureds’ (2017: 171). Moreover, ‘The passing of the Native Reserve Locations Act of 1902 by Parliament resulted in forcibly moving Africans to a sewage farm just outside Cape Town called Uitvlugt’ (Jackson 2017: 171). These associations of plague, dirt and black inner-city overcrowding influenced the relocation of black Africans to dumping sites of human effluent, cementing, Jackson claims, the conflation of black bodies with waste (Jackson 2017). Inner-city urban renewal was cast as a process of sanitizing the city, clearing black and coloured communities like District Six to make way for the development of businesses and housing of white South Africans. The first major twentieth-century urban renewal project was conceived in the 1930s when the South African Railway embarked on its plan to construct the Duncan dock in Table Bay Harbour (Pinnock 1989; Worden, Van Heyningen and Bickford-Smith 1999). This was tailored to help address overpopulation and the deteriorating state of the built environment in the city centre (Worden, Van Heyningen and Bickford-Smith 1999). As I have discussed elsewhere in the context of sacred space, identity and claims to the city (Jethro 2009), the city centre – as the commercial and administrative hub of the province, flanked on one side by a busy trading port and an expansive industrial area on the other – offered workers employment and easy access to their places of work. This commercially orientated spatial arrangement, designed to promote labour intensive factories and industry at the city centre, was typical of Victorian urban formations (Bickford-Smith 2003). The city redesign was an immense project that entailed claiming space from the ocean and making room for a new central railway station. The project would also allow authorities to address inner-city overcrowding, as the Le-Corbusier-inspired plans city officials drafted were
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
based on the idea of the city as a commercial centre free of workers, where capital could flow freely without hindrance. The redesign plans also stressed that development be initiated on a clean slate, starting with the city centre, so as to replace ‘the accidental layout of the ground’ and overcome the haphazard flaws of previous planning models (Pinnock 1989: 155). This did not mean the entire city had to be demolished. Indeed, many parts of the city’s urban profile in the leafy suburbs climbing the slopes of Table Mountain remained untouched. It did, however, mean that major urban changes were put in place to relieve black urban overcrowding that had mushroomed near the foreshore development. ‘The 1947 Foreshore plans of the City Council’ therefore ‘included a regional diagram for “defined communities,” which contained “ring roads and radials with neat self-contained townships” where black and coloured populations would be accommodated’ (Pinnock 1989: 157). The European planning models of the Garden City and the Neighbourhood Unit were adopted for the design of the new suburbs. Located far from the city centre and designed as insular urban units, townships were meant to isolate black residents at the periphery, and therefore open the city for white settlement, use and enjoyment. As secluded urban units, they were also designed to be easily policed during times of unrest and to instil a race or ethnic consciousness among their residents. With the rise to power of the apartheid government in 1948, urban renewal in Cape Town became synonymous with the state’s separate development policies, driven by legislation such as the Group Areas Act of 1950, which legislated the demarcation of land and areas of residence according to racial classification. These new laws wove racial oppression into the urban fabric of the new city. They also helped accelerate the process of clearing out black and coloured, or mixed race, working-class communities from the other pristine, well-located suburbs, and relocating them to the townships on the outskirts of the city (see Field 2001; Western 1981). Communities were forcefully evicted from areas such as Harfield Village in Claremont, Tramway Road in Sea Point and Strawberry Lane in Constantia. The largest and most well-known case of forced removals affected the inner-city residents of District Six (Jeppie and Soudien 1990). Situated on the eastern flank of the city, District Six was populated by working-class coloured, but also a small white, black African and Indian population. As has already been indicated, from the late nineteenth century city officials identified District Six as an ‘overpopulated slum’. Despite repeated concerns about the deteriorating living conditions within the District, neither landlords nor the municipality implemented measures to improve residents’
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living conditions (Bickford-Smith 1990; Barnett 1993). It was therefore under the auspices of slum clearance, as part of the process of urban renewal and racial segregation, that District Six was reclassified as a white area in 1966 (Hart 1990). This initiated an era during which more than 50,000 people were forcefully evicted from their homes and relocated en masse to townships on the Cape Flats. Echoing Shannon Jackson (2017) and Maynard Swanson (1977), I want to therefore emphasize that race-based forced removal was a practice of urban spatial violence that tied racial thinking into urban renewal according to a discourse of sanitization that in many ways concerned the clearing of ‘contaminants’ and their sensuous markers, such as smells from prized areas in the city. That is not to say District Six was not a slum, however. Odours floating freely, invisibly in the atmosphere and other signs of squalor abounded, but these were open to various interpretations and appropriations. As I will show, the smell of filth, grime and waste may have carried different significance for residents in District Six. In these terms, then, smells and fragrances become a medium for the contestation and interpretation of belonging in urban space.
Toposmia and nostalgia The art critic and sensory studies scholar Jim Drobnick (2002) has coined the term ‘toposmia’, which etymologically links the notion of place and smell, to understand these kinds of relationships. Toposmia, Drobnick says, demarcates a field of inquiry that ‘investigates the spatial location of odours and their relation to particular notions of place’ (2006: 85). Toposmic analysis has a few features, he suggests. It requires defining ‘how olfaction alters traditional visualist conceptions of the landscape, design and architecture’ (Drobnick 2006: 85). One feature distinguishing olfaction from vision, for example, is that ‘olfactory experiences are inherently discontinuous, fragmentary and episodic, that is time-based’ (Drobnick 2006: 86), Drobnick also remarks on the unpredictable, ephemeral and mobile properties of odours that enable different kinds of spatial analysis. ‘As much as smells can be said to abide in certain locations,’ Drobnick notes, ‘they also resist containment and transgress boundaries’ (2006: 87). Taking this quality of odours and aromas seriously can allow for productive explorations of ‘the contradictory relationship between mapping and smells, as the rational authoritative mandate of the map confronts the elusive, evanescent nature of odors’ (Drobnick 2006: 86). Yet while leaking, transcending or exceeding material space, aromas can also be used to demarcate space, whether
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
purposefully, through ritual odiferous purification or informally through describing claims about how places smell. As it suffuses the atmosphere, the circulation of smells further generates the idea that the ‘atmosphere can no longer be taken for granted’, that it can become ‘a publically contested entity’, as invisible public space (Drobnick 2006: 88). What is missing here, however, is how odours and aromas have symbolic properties that transcend not only material space but also time. Smells can and do evoke experiences through memory that can also symbolically transcend time and establish a link with the original place of olfactory experience. As Helen Keller put it, ‘Smell is a potent wizard that transports us across thousands of miles and all the years we have lived’ (cited in Synnott 1993: 186). The examples I have cited above show that these experiences are often socially shared, yet remain contested. The emotionally loaded experience of smell can trigger feelings, memories and sensations that symbolically replace the forcefully removed at home. The sensory evocation of home, of returning through olfactory sensory recollection, can of course be interpreted as nostalgia. Insofar as they dwell on loss and longing for home, some of the memories of Cape Town’s forcefully removed could easily be dismissed as being steeped in nostalgia. Nostalgia can refer to a warm longing for a past that may or may never have been, and thus carries the stigma of connoting a dreamy escape from the reality of the present or avoiding responsibilities to the future. For example, smells linked to food drift in through remarks about how much tastier, better or more fulfilling things once were. For example, Menisha Collins, a former District Six resident, and participant in the District Six Museum’s food and memory workshops, hankered after the smells of her childhood, saying, ‘I miss the smells of District Six’ (cited in Smith 2016: 59). Things were different then. ‘We cannot smell people’s food nowadays because people don’t cook as much as they did in District Six’ (cited in Smith 2016: 59). Elaborating on the alluring aroma of home cooking, she observed how smells triggered a sociality, where the communal, yet distinctive smells of food being cooked served as an implicit invitation to share a meal, ‘You could smell each person’s food as you went past and say, Hi Mrs So-and-So, what are you making? … It was an indication that you want to share in their meals’ (cited in Smith 2016: 59). Wandering through the District Six of Menisha Collins’s memory you were confronted with delicious home cooking that was as personal as it was collective. Patty Davidson, the owner of the Heritage Museum in Simons Town just outside of Cape Town, was renowned for her keen sense of smell, which she claimed to have inherited from her grandmother. It enabled her to pick up
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culinary secrets with only her nose: ‘I am like my grandmother, she would cook by smell. … I can smell food and say I smell ginger and cardamom and so and so and very rarely do I taste my food’ (cited in Baderoon 2007: 125). Davidson’s sharpened sense of smell enabled her to draw important distinctions between the quality and taste of food before and after apartheid. For example, recalling the smells of fruits consumed during the breaking of the fast during the holy month of Ramadan enabled a nostalgic reconsideration of the historical differences in the taste of food: What I remember also was my uncle. … During the fast he would make fruit salad for us. He had this enormous white basin for cutting the fruit. Until today when thinking about it, I smell the guavas that he would put in and squeeze the oranges and see him slivering the almonds. Somehow the food had more taste in those years – it seemed to have a more distinct flavour, now it tastes more of cardboard. (cited in Baderoon 2007: 127)
The bland paper-like taste and texture of present-day food could be related to apartheid era forced removal. Patty Davidson went on to observe that not only was the quality of goods and produce available fundamentally altered by apartheid era forced removal but also that this change in standard was only detectable after having been violently relocated: ‘We had beautiful fresh fish here, and we didn’t realise it until we were forcibly removed, how lucky we were to have stayed here’ (cited in Baderoon 2007: 125). Flowers were another important aromatic nostalgic index in Cape Town. The historian Melanie Boehi (2010), who conducted research among flower sellers in Cape Town, notes that people of colour who lived in the leafy area of Strawberry Lane in the now upmarket suburb of Constantia before they were forcibly removed in the 1960s remembered their gardens with flowers, vegetables and fruit trees fondly. ‘Flowers were important in Constantia,’ she notes (2010: 96). Constantia was an agricultural area that helped create a livelihood for local residents who cultivated flowers for sale at places like the market in Adderley Street (Figure 3.1). This was a community bound together by the shared experience of cultivating and marketing flowers, as well as by the luscious scents. As Moses Japhta, one of Boehi’s interlocutors, explained: It was so nice, in those days, everybody had to travel by bus, if you go to town, or if you go to Rondebosch, they had to go by bus. And when it comes to this time of the year [spring], getting into that bus, you can smell, you’re in the bus of Constantia. Because everybody is taking the flowers to town, so the whole, you know, the bus smells like flowers! (Boehi 2010: 97)
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
Figure 3.1 Cape Town Floriography, 2016. Curator: Melanie Boehi (Nowseum). Photograph: ‘Flower sellers, Cape Town, 1947’ by J. Luckhoff, courtesy of the Iziko Museums of South Africa, Social History Collections, 2001/781. Poster design: Salma Price-Nell.
There was a century-old thriving trade in flowers in Cape Town, recognized in touristic imagery that informally established the status of flower sellers as part of the city’s heritage (see Bickford-Smith 2009; Pinnock 1984). Once these black and coloured residents were forcibly removed Constantia was gentrified and today attracts some of the highest property prices in the country. Following their forced removal, and a change in cultivation methods, former residents observed that flowers had lost their character and their fragrant floral scent. ‘In the olden days’, remarked Glenda Booman, ‘the flowers last much better’. Flowers had not only lost their vitality, they had also lost some of their vibrant aroma (cited in Boehi 2010: 96). ‘There is no smell in the flowers anymore,’ lamented Gaironeesa Benjamin, another of Boehi’s interlocutors (2010: 96; Figure 3.2).3 The sensory archive of evictees is clearly laced with a sense of longing for a past that they once inhabited. In the face of the traumatic violence of forced removal, one cannot, however, simply dismiss these utopian appeals to sensory plenitude. For, working through these recollections, it is clear that longing for a utopian past is not the only sense of feeling that tinged their memories. The
Fragrances and Forced Removal
Figure 3.2 Cape Town flower seller. Marianne Gordon Collection, District Six Museum.
art historian Annie Coombes has grappled with this feature of the District Six oral history archive, saying that an idealistic, sanitized version of the past could serve ‘to undermine the bureaucratic language of sanitation and public hygiene deployed by the apartheid demolition teams that so ruthlessly and effectively elided the positive human aspects of ’ the local inhabitants’ lifeworld (2003: 124). To dismiss nostalgia as a temporal delusion may also deny those who were violently and forcefully displaced of the freedom to remember a past in the ways that they wish. Indeed, the etymology of the word ‘nostalgia’, from the Greek words nostos, meaning return home, and algos, meaning pain, or ache, conveys very simply the deeply felt gravity of being displaced and the wish to go home.4 How can we reconcile the personal and political import of former residents’ memories of home as being meaningful and not merely anodyne?
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
Smell, as I have indicated earlier, has been implicated in nostalgic recollection, with smell memories triggering strong feelings of home (Jesee 1982; Waskul, Vannini and Wilson 2009; Hirsch 2006). As we have seen nostalgia was an important way for subaltern groups to make convincing claims to and about the past and about home. These nostalgic recollections troubled fixed, authoritative conceptions of history and heritage in South Africa. Jacob Dlamini argues that ‘nostalgia does not have to be a reactionary sentiment’ (2009: 17). For him, ‘to be nostalgic’ for life under apartheid means recalling ‘the social orders and networks of solidarity that made the struggle [for liberation] possible in the first place’ (2009: 17). Invoking Svetlana Boym’s notion of reflective nostalgia, Dlamini concludes ‘that there is a way of being nostalgic about the past without forgetting that the struggle against apartheid was just’ (2009: 17). This sensuous body of memory has scholarly and political import, he argues, because it provides a counter narrative to a simple historical master-narrative of ‘black dispossession’ characterized by clear distinctions between good and evil, black and white and oppressor and oppressed. This master-narrative ‘blinds us to a richness, a complexity of life among black South Africans, that not even colonialism and apartheid at their worst could destroy’ (Dlamini 2009: 19). Not discounting the complexity, incompleteness and opacity of oral histories and memory, a reflective nostalgia could therefore be useful for challenging a dominant post-apartheid memory politics that privileged the ANC-led state and an official apartheid era historical archive. As Annie Coombes put it, ‘A certain kind of nostalgic memorialising may serve important and productive functions given the reconstructive and transformative South African context’ (2003: 124). Taking these ideas about smell, memory and nostalgia into consideration, therefore, in the following section I look at sensory memories that shape the contemporary perception of District Six.
The sensory world of District Six Art historian Steven Dubin notes, ‘Reminisces of District Six typically recall the sights and sounds of the area, but seldom talk about how it smelled’ (2009: 288, note 78). Indeed, the District Six archive of recollection before 1966, when the area was reclassified white, abounds with references to bright sights and loud, rhythmical sounds. Graffiti located at one entrance to District Six near Horstley Street boldly declared, ‘You are now entering fairyland’ as if to suggest one were crossing a threshold into sensory overload (Rive 1990: 112; Bennett
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2007). Euphemisms such as ‘colourful’ and ‘vibrant’ were the common visual and visually resonant metaphors used to describe District Six by analysts of the history of the suburb. These descriptions were often borne out by a quite extensive photographic and audiovisual archive depicting the people, everyday life and the sometimes jumbled, pristine modern and often grimy architecture in the district (Hallett 2007; Small and Wissema 1986). Beyond the visual facades, however, despite widespread poverty, food and goods were often longingly described as being more abundant and flavourful prior to the removal. Aboubarker Brown, another former resident, illustrated this when he explained what buying basic goods was like as a child: ‘One cent jam … [the shopkeeper] took a piece of brown paper put a scoop of jam on it. On that brown paper. One cent. Gold. Everybody in the family can eat from that jam’ (cited in Smith 2016: 151). Not only did food appear to be more abundant but it was also more flavourful and tasty. For example, in District Six you would be able to find ‘the best peanuts in town, the freshest full cream milk’, ‘lovely cakes’ (Fortune 1996: 62–4) and crayfish, (local lobsters) were bigger, better: ‘It was not the small shells you get now … they were big shells, and big legs’ (Mr O. A. cited in Swanson and Harries 2001: 76). Still, it was the sonic resonances in District Six that rang out loudly in former resident’s memories. District Six was a place of the goema, a drum and its beat, that was often related to the annual New Year’s carnival festival commemorating a free day for slaves at the Cape. For example, Hettie Adams, a former District Six resident, put it this way, ‘Gooma, gooma, the gooma is going. … It is the first day of New Year, and if we in William Street [District Six] did not have the gooma, it wouldn’t be New Year’ (1988: 11). Farieda Waghiet, a former District Six resident, had similar memories of the beats associated with the New Year’s carnival, saying, ‘Our benches were put there in front of the Star bioscope and the people used to sit and wait [for the Coon Troupes to pass by]. We used to dance, guma in Cross Street. The band was all around and we used to dance in the middle, guma, guma’ (cited in Jeppie, 1990: 85). For Fakier Jessa, another former resident, the sound and beat captured the character of the area, when he said, ‘District Six was a cultural blend of dance, theatre, violence, good-heartedness and the sounds of ka-doema’ (2016: 1). In these formulations, the rhythmic sound of the goema drum beat transformed urban space of streets, houses and buildings, forming a temporally demarcated shared sonorous public space. The carnival goema was, however, one note in an enveloping, seemingly never-ending sonic atmosphere of everyday life in District Six. ‘Day and night there was life’, said Tahir Levy, another former resident, ‘There
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
was never really a quiet period to speak of ’ (cited in Schoeman 1988: 35). As with the sounds generated around carnival, many were amplified and concentrated in certain places and spaces, such as Hanover Street, the main business arterial. Hanover Street was a cacophony of social sound. The author Brian Barrow described the pulsing, overwhelming vibe of Hanover Street, characterizing it as ‘a river of people, cars, barrows, buses, horse-drawn cars and small boys racing down slopes in soap box carts; a bustling, laughing, hooting, whistling, shouting, chatting river of people’ (cited in Schoeman 1988: 35). The novelist Alex La Guma illustrated the discordant hustle of the end of day trading in Hanover Street, saying, ‘Up ahead music shops were still going full blast, the blare of records all mixed up so you could not tell one tune from another … the hawkers in white coats yelling their wares and flapping their brown-paper packets’ (1967: 7). Hanover Street was not merely the source of a cacophony, it also epitomized the sound of District Six, at least according to one former resident, Fakier Jessa. He proposed that ‘Hanover Street bustled as the musical soul of Sixers. … In some ways Hanover Street was simply a musical note, with endless beats and tones for your pleasure’ (2016: 22). This characterization of Hanover Street as embodying the musical essence of cultural life in District Six, and indeed the city, was reaffirmed in the hugely popular musical District Six, a commemorative tribute to the place and the people, by the song Klop Klop, that announced, ‘The rhythm and the beat of the people all around. Klop, klop, beating out the rhythm, Klop klop, a rhythm that is living – it’s the heart that beats in District Six’.5 The cramped living conditions in District Six – of houses on top of houses, narrow streets and overcrowding – meant that the voices of residents also circulated as loud public communication, for example, to share goods as part of a widely reported communal belief in mutual support. Tahir Levy recalled that ‘when you needed a toilet roll or a bit of food or a pound of butter, then you just shout to your neighbour: Can I have a pound of butter, kanala [please]’ (Schoeman 1988: 41). The routines of urban living also provided opportunities for voluble vocal exchange. Fakier Jessa notes that in the 1960s, for example, ‘Dirt collection days invariably presented opportunities for all kinds of gossip [when people stepped out in the morning to put out their rubbish] … a weekly chatter and clatter which lasted for about five minutes’ (2016: 71). These resonant recollections shift once the order for the demolition of District Six was issued, with references to captivating cacophony, vocal communication and rhythm being replaced by noise, crashing and crushing. The bulldozers rolled in ‘rumble, rumble’ (Small cited in Hart 1990: 130).
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Rolling into the District, the bulldozers ‘registered the noise and the threat of it all’ (Schoeman 1988: 69). ‘The noise eating at the rubble was endless’ (Jessa 2016: 51). It was an ‘apocalyptic sound’, of the rumbling machines crushing concrete that blocked out residents’ voices: ‘Mom’s reply could not be heard as another wall crashed noisily to the ground,’ recalls Linda Fortune about her family’s first experience with a bulldozer (1996: 124). Once the demolition of the District had been accomplished it rendered the land silent: ‘The exodus brought with it a silence, rubble and barren spaces which turned soul to stone’ (Jessa 2016: 54). In District Six’s sensory environment, it was sound that resonated in the memories of its former residents as defining the suburb’s character. What I want to show from here on, however, is how olfactory stimuli were also widely present in the memories of evictees, showing specifically how they functioned as a descriptor of District Six, how smoke functioned as an important open-ended aromatic index for a variety of social relations in place and how odours were tied into local smell cycles associated with food and consumption.
Smell and forced removal Attending to smell memories that appear in the recollections of the forcefully removed, then, in contrast to the lively, even jovial sociality conjured up by the sonic and visual references animating the recollections of District Six evictees, olfactory markers sometimes evoked more pungent, unromantic characterizations. District Six’s rancid olfactory atmosphere is sharply articulated by Richard Rive in his caustic description of the area: ‘Of course, we all knew that it was slum [sic]. None of us who grew up there will deny that. It was a ripe, raw and rotten slum. It was drab, dingy, squalid and overcrowded’ (1990: 111). Certain streets were particularly malodorous. Fakir Jessa remembers walking left from ‘Aspeling Street into Vogelzang Street. … It was like being transported to the 18th century; wagons, strange looking archway doorway permutation [sic] and sometimes sewage stench oozed from broken sewerage pipes’ (2016: 22). In the real-life-inspired fictional work of Alex La Guma, District Six was pervaded by an especially foul everyday aroma that was as overwhelming as it was undetectable: The breeze carried the stale smells from passageway to passageway, from room to room, along lanes and back alleys, through the realms of the poor, until massed smells of stagnant water, cooking, rotting vegetables, oil, fish, damp
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa plaster and timber, unwashed curtains, bodies and stairways, cheap perfume and incense, spices and half-washed kitchenware, urine, animals and dusty corners became one vast, anonymous odour so widespread and all-embracing as to become unidentifiable, hardly noticeable by the initiated nostrils of the teeming, cramped world of poverty it enveloped. (1967: 45–6)
The smell of the surrounding material deterioration in District Six sometimes also attached to people and appeared in judgemental observations about the sharp smell of cheap alcohol, fish and sweat. ‘Allie was the most depessed [sic] person I knew in District Six,’ observed Fakir Jessa (2016: 70). ‘He stank sharply and pungently from the cheap wine-spirit concoction’ (Jessa 2016: 70). Another homeless person, Kettie, also stuck in Jessa’s memory because of her smell: ‘Kettie too stayed drunk all the time. … Her smell was pungent. Her aroma lingered’ (2016: 70). Alex La Guma’s fictional characters also carry these associations. For example, a nondescript passer-by is described as having ‘a greyish, puffed skin under the charred stubble and he carried the smell of stale wine with him’ (1967: 31). While Joe, a homeless character, had ‘the smell of fish still cl[i]ng to him’ (La Guma 1967: 59). In La Guma’s fictional work, sometimes characters recognized that the decay of District Six was actually also slowly consuming them. Returning home one night, John Abrahams ‘lay with his face towards the wall. ... He had not undressed and he could smell the sweatiness of his clothes and the staleness of the ruin that was his body’ (La Guma 1967: 91). By pointing out these unsettling smells I want to show how noxious smells of slum life, the sulphuric stench of human waste, dirt and filth, were a stink that intruded upon the dominant audiovisual sensibility animating the archive of District Six residents’ memories. But the raw aromas of urban life in District Six did not just register as morally coded heavy odours as the smell of a slum ready to be sanitized. Rather it manifests as the strong scent of a place that continued to thrive despite the depravity and deprivation, which had only been made worse by bad urban planning, municipal neglect and racial discrimination. This sensory archive was also imputed with aromatic notes that attached to people, spaces and places that raised very different kinds of associations about what cultural life was like back then. Smoke was an important register of spacespecific, socially significant memory. For example, the scent of smoke could be related to practices and places of religious devotion. Aromatic incense sticks were sold in ‘small dimly-lit shops that sold herbs and spices’ (Schoeman 1988: 36). Meang stokkies, as they were referred to locally, were used by Muslims who ‘burnt them in their homes on certain nights to keep away evil spirits’ (Schoeman
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1988: 36). The smoky aroma of treated hair could mark, but also scramble gender relations in District Six where a culture of cross-dressing, gender-fluid homosexuality was nominally accepted (see Jeppie 1990; Chetty 1995; Pacey 2014). For example, Linda Fortune remembers the striking, distinctive aroma of her friend giving a customer a hair straightening treatment at a hair salon, saying, ‘The smell of oil on hot iron and hair would float on the air outside’ (Fortune 1996: 87). The client’s gender remains unclear since she remarked that men also secretly went for hair straightening treatments. The bitter, biting smell of cigarette smoke and the earthy aroma of dagga (cannabis) swirled in the memory of many evictees. The foul smell of carbon vapour has been associated with demarcating boundaries of sensory citizenship (Tan 2016), and moral and political projects associated with the reduction of tobacco consumption (Dennis 2016) generally. As it drifted into the recollections of evictees, smoke evoked different affectively loaded interpretations of life and social conditions in areas they had once called home. For one former resident, cited as Mrs V. D., the smell of cannabis registered the breakdown of family values in the Claremont of her youth: ‘You could smell the dagga all over Claremont. There was a lot of domestic violence, men abused their wives and children’ (cited in Swanson and Harries 2001: 111). The whiff of cannabis was also detectable all over District Six but was particularly strong in cinemas, a place of popular leisure in a country where television was banned until the late 1970s. The historian Kay McCormick (1990) remarks that over the course of the twentieth century, there were seven cinemas in District Six, which were for a time known locally as bioscopes. They screened films in English, first, mostly from Britain, but then later from America (2002). Cinema saturated cultural life in District Six, especially in the 1940s and 1950s (Maingaurd 2017). Film provided European and American cultural references that influenced ‘tastes/ fashions, identities and, arguably, values’ (Bickford-Smith, nd: np). Local audiences interpreted and took up cinematic cultural references in novel, innovative ways: jazz musicians incorporated contemporary American jazz from films into local music styles; actors and theatrical performers adopted the screen names of international film stars, while gangs like the Stalag 17, the Casbah Kids and the Avalon Rangers claimed the symbolic significance of international cinematic references to mobilize as violent, local competing organized crime groups (Bickford-Smith, nd: np). The cinema was a place of ‘the danky smells of Jayes fluid [ammonia] … blended with the smell of [fries] coated with salt and vinegar’ (Jessa 2016: 3). The communal consumption of film created occasions for lively smoky sociality.
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
Richard Rive remembered boisterous cinema outings with his teenage friends: ‘We sat goggled-eyed in the thick, cigarette smoke dark, watching Zorro carve Z’s out with his whip on the foreheads of crooks’ (1986: 4). Echoing the buoyant, smoky District Six cinematic experience, Linda Fortune recalled an outing to the Star bioscope with her father, saying, ‘It was unbearable sitting right in front. The smell of dagga (cannabis) being smoked at the back drifted down there and the people around us made a lot of noise, some using obscene language’ (1996: 83). In the cinema, smoke accumulated, wafted and clouded the memories of many residents of District Six. One of oral historians’ Felicity Swanson and Jane Harries’ interlocutors recalled the enveloping smoky intensity of the atmosphere in the Star bioscope: ‘They used to sell dagga inside. There’s more smoke than people. When you come in then you smoke the dagga’ (2007: 73; Figure 3.3). Cinema smoke was thick, humid, molten, intoxicating: ‘Huge ceiling fans circulated the stale dank air, relentlessly trying to drive out the odours of dagga and cigarette smoke’ (Jessa 2016: 7); ‘smoke, laden with the tang of dagga, hung like a fog so that one could become pleasantly doped by merely
Figure 3.3 British Cinema, District Six. Courtesy of the Cape Institute for Architecture.
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drawing a few deep breaths’ (La Guma 1967: 38). The intoxicating smell of dagga smoke in the cinema could, however, also trigger feelings of fear and danger: ‘We never dared use the backseats because this part of the cinema would be occupied by the Globe gang,’ explained Nomvuyo Ngcelwane (1999: 44). ‘The members of the gang … were dagga smokers. The heavy, pungent smoke that drifted from the back burnt our eyes and choked us but the ushers never did anything about it’ (Ngcelwane 1999: 44). And as much as cinematic cultural references saturated social life in District Six, the ubiquitous cigarette and cannabis smoke in the cinema was cloying and could also, not surprisingly, trigger feelings of happiness. As Mr C. B. explained, ‘When you come out [of the cinema] your clothes stink like dagga. But it was lovely. They were very happy people’ (cited in Swanson and Harries 2007: 73). Smoke, and cannabis smoke in particular, created a sensorially perceptible socially shared public space in the memory of former District Six residents. Dank, dark and smoky, the cinema aroused clear and persistent memories of leisure, sociality, laughter as well as fear and anxiety. Engrossing smell associations also arose outside of the enclosed delerious space of the cinema. Rich aromas marked significant temporal events, from special annual occassions to routine rituals of the week and the everyday. For example, Richard Rive recalled the aromatic occasion of his family’s trip to night mass on Christmas Eve, saying, ‘We smelt of Waynick’s hire-purchase suits and pungent Christmas present deodorants. My older brothers also smelt of cigarette smoke and my one unmarried sister of a sweet and sickly eau-de-cologne called Passion at Midnight’ (1986: 73). But District Six residents also associated smells with days of the week. One way of calibrating a local ‘smell cycle’ (Almagor 1987) was to relate it to the weekly rhythms of cooking. In District Six, Monday nights were for left overs or fresh fish, and families would get their fish from local fishmongers, one of whom, Sylvia Gangat remembers, was colloquially known as ‘Mr Stink Fish’ (cited in Smith 2016: 154), because, as Linda Fortune explained, the proprietor’s shop often ‘had a fishy smell’ (1996: 67). Other goods stores also carried similar, long-lasting aromas, such as ‘Langman’s musty Indian store smelling of butterpits and masala powder’ (Rive 1981: 8–9). While stews were cooked most nights of the week, Friday evenings were often reserved for panfried food, or take-away fish and chips. The fish and chip shop was a cauldron of vapours, smells and sensations. It was a place where the air was ‘thick with the smell of stale sawdust, boiling fish oil and sweaty bodies as steam rose from the frying-pans’ (Rive 1988: 2; Figure 3.4). Saturdays were reserved for shopping in Hanover Street. ‘Saturday was the morning that people really devoted to shopping or browsing,’ former resident
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
Figure 3.4 Fresh Produce Fish Dealers, Hanover Street Fish Market. Sandra McGregor Collection, District Six Museum.
Marion Abrahams-Welsh recalled (cited in Smith 2016: 181). ‘On a Saturday morning as you walked down Hanover Street, you would get all those beautiful smells from curries, samoosas and whatever else’ (cited in Smith 2016: 181). Memories of the smell of food being cooked in and along Hanover Street tugged at Linda Fortune’s heartstrings: ‘I still miss the smells of District Six. I used to walk up Hanover Street on my way home and could identify what different people were cooking. Oh, this person is cooking cabbage curry and that person is cooking … and as I walked towards my home, the hungrier I became’ (cited in Smith 2016: 46). Sunday was the day for a big lunch, but Sunday breakfast was reserved for a special local doughnut, known as the koesiester.6 Linda Fortune describes the sensorially vibrant occasion of rising early as a child and walking to Parkin Street to buy koesiesters from her family’s preferred baker: ‘I was one of her first customers. I sat on the bench in her lino-covered kitchen as I watched her dipping the fried koesiesters in the sweet syrup. She then sprinkled coconut over and I always received a hot, juicy koesiester to eat on the way home’ (cited in Smith 2016: 200). As Linda Fortune’s account makes clear, children arriving early at their family’s preferred baker would get a special glimpse of koesiesters being made
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fresh. Richard Rive recounts the scene at the house to which he was dispatched to collect his family’s Sunday morning treat. Their house always smelt of aniseed and rose water. I would stand in the dark passage awaiting my turn, watching them fry the light dough until it was golden brown. They would then dip it in hot and sugary into coconut. They had taken a liking to me and always gave me an extra one wrapped separately which I ate on the way back. (1986: 5)
This Sunday morning routine could stir up mouth-watering recollections sprinkled with delicious visual and olfactory details, of fat, juicy, golden and fragrant confections that were so enchanting that the repeat references to it in the archive made it seem many children all shared the same sweet one. As I have tried to show, this was one sensory delight in a fairly patterned cycle of weekly aromas, as one feature of the aromatic smellscape of District Six.
Sense memories and restitution Before I conclude, I would like to illustrate how some of the heritage work engaged by forcefully removed communities enfolds some of these sense memories of home into commemorative practices that concern the struggle for justice and restitution. Following the demolition of most of District Six, in 1987 former residents formed the Hands Off District Six group, to campaign against development taking place on the land where District Six once stood, so as to leave it standing bare as ‘a memorial scar within the cityscape’ (Layne 2008: 56–7). In 1988 a resolution of the Hands Off District Six campaign conference was adopted to establish a museum as former residents ‘realized that memory was the most important weapon they had and that they needed to organize around a way of remembering District Six and keeping it alive’ (Layne 2008: 57). The District Six Museum was then established in the Central Methodist Church in Buitenkant Street in the city centre, on the edge of the former District Six. A community museum, the institution opened its doors without boasting an assemblage of representational material culture – a collection – that conventionally defines this type of institution. As the former museum director Valmont Layne put it, ‘In the District Six Museum, our most precious collection is the memories, the stories, and the emotions of our ex-residents and our visitors to the museum’ (Layne 2008: 60). Much of the material collection was generated ad hoc. The District Six Museum’s first exhibition, Streets, for example, used
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
the street signs recovered by museum officials as a mnemonic cue for former residents to relocate themselves in their old District and reformulate the memories of their former homes. Avoiding romanticism in its commemorative work, the museum’s curatorial strategies have actively pursued self-critical reflection on the racial, sexual, gender and cultural diversity that flourished in the area in ways that trouble a homogenizing narrative. Another important goal of the museum is to work towards the homecoming of former residents, meaning that ‘from the very beginning the museum has been part of an exciting land claim and restitution process’ (Layne 2008: 61). In 1994 the state promulgated the Restitution of Land Rights Act 22, which enabled forcefully removed groups to make claims for land restitution. Many former tenants – as homes were not necessarily owned by residents – of District Six lodged claims at this time. In 1998 through the facilitation of the District Six Museum, the District Six Beneficiaries and Redevelopment Trust was established as a vehicle to better manage the outstanding claims to land and compensation. A significant development came in the year 2000 with ‘the ceremonial handing over of 40 hectares of District Six land to claimants by [former] President Thabo Mbeki’ (Ernsten 2015: 347). Since 2006, however, the District Six land claims and restitution process has stalled. The District Six Museum has also devoted its time to getting District Six declared a National Heritage Site. Invoking the National Heritage Resources Act of 1999, which accords heritage status on a hierarchical scale according to significance at the local, provincial and national levels, the District Six Museum has mounted a campaign to get the Department of Arts and Culture to protect District Six land from private development, but also so that it can stand as a symbol of the violence of race-based forced removal for the nation.7 Through the work of the museum, the memories of former residents have been enlisted to recall the violence of forced removal in Cape Town and South Africa and for land restitution and national heritage status designation of District Six (Rassool, forthcoming).
Conclusion My print from the Cape Town Floriography Project hung on my wall for about a year, prompting fragrant memories of home. Over time, however, it took on a brownish-yellow patina as if the paper had aged out of sympathy for the characters captured in the old scene. This chapter has in some ways been an attempt to come to terms with an apparent tension in this image – between the central place of flower sellers and ordinary, black working-class people like them having
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historically been pushed from the centre to the margins of the city. In many ways I have tried to make sense of this tension through a consideration of the role memories of smell and aroma played in black working-class communities’ making sense of apartheid era forced displacement. Places of forced removal like District Six were alive with different kinds of smells that were socially shared, yet also contested, sometimes signalling safety, at other times signalling danger. Smells were implicated in making distinctions between people, with lower classes carrying morally coded negative smells and women and elites associated with other more positive aromas. Different smells were also associated with the rhythms of family living and consumption, patterned according to days of the week. Most significantly, smells attached to places and spaces, such as streets, shops and the cinema, each of which carried different and often contested social significance. Places of forced removal were therefore awaft with olfactory registers beyond those highlighted in official or public reports of the time. By mapping some of these smellscapes, I hope to have demonstrated how smell encoded toposmic notions of place, and shaped images of residents’ who appear in this particular archive. More broadly, I showed what new insights a sensory studies approach to this oral, literary and biographical archive could generate. In that way the chapter adds to a small but important body of scholarship highlighted by Jacob Dlamini and Mike van Graan by adding depth to histories of the everyday in South African townships and in Cape Town in particular. Moreover, the history of urban segregation in Cape Town shows that the official narratives that rationalized the removals were informed by discourses of contamination and sensory sanitation. Casting forcefully removed communities as overcrowded slums and breeding grounds for disease, officials were able to capitalize on strong associations between race and defilement and the negative sensory associations that came with them as a discursive precursor for forced removal. While officials were attuned to the stench of slum life, they were unable or unwilling to acknowledge the racist, exploitative political manoeuvring that contributed to the generation of this dire sanitary decay. Building on Shannon Jackson’s (2017) work, I have tried to show that race based urban forced removal was in some ways about sanitizing the city of stinks, of deodorizing the city of areas ‘contaminated’ by ‘foulness and pollution’ through the forced removal of local black residents, and in the case of District Six, the clearance and demolition of the existing properties. The chapter demonstrated that olfactory recollections were implicated in a politics of memory and history that turned on nostalgia. The smell memories
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
of some former residents were often directly opposed to the plainly negative official characterizations that contributed to forced removal. These were at times idealistic, romantic depictions of the past that were distinctly utopian. Nevertheless, these nostalgic olfactory sensory sentiments were not always glowing. Many of them also concurred with official descriptions of communities as slums. Yet in citing some of these counter recollections of smell I have tried to emphasize that they could not serve as justification for the destruction of residents’ former homes. Rather, they served as an affirmation of the variety of perspectives of places where social life continued to thrive despite the sometimes appalling social conditions that prevailed. The smell memories of evictees were therefore tinged by a sense of reflection and a desire for the restoration of a once loved home. They were also significant in adding a scented sensory quality to an archive of memory that memorialized evicted communities in the city, claim a right to the city for black and coloured forcefully removed communities and add to important, ongoing heritage campaigns based on the recognition of apartheid era urban spatial violence and restitution.
Vuvuzela magic: Sound, football and plastic post-apartheid heritage
Introduction One of the main claims trumpeted in state and corporate media broadcasting leading up to the FIFA 2010 World Cup tournament was that Africa was united around the World Cup. Pan-Africanism was one of the main marketing premises of the tournament, borne out in the official slogan, Ke Nako, Celebrate Africa’s Humanity. And following the South African national football team’s unsurprising early exit from the tournament, South Africans were encouraged to switch allegiance to support Ghana, who had success through the knock-out stages. At one point, it seemed as if the entire continent stood behind the Black Stars, as the team was known (Figure 4.1). Yet while the beer flowed and vuvuzelas were being blown in support of the Ghanaian team’s strident progress in fancy venues, in black townships across South Africa migrants and refugees from various parts of Africa stared at their television sets in fear. Rumours had been spread that the end of the tournament would mark the outbreak of xenophobic violence similar to that seen in 2008 when, as was reported in the Mail & Guardian weekly newspaper at the time, ‘refugees and migrants dread the end of the World Cup, fearing they will see a repeat of the events of May 2008 when xenophobic violence across the country left 62 people dead, more than 100 000 displaced and millions of rands’ worth of property looted or destroyed’.1 On Sunday 11 July, while almost 500 million viewers from across the globe tuned in to watch the hard-fought World Cup final, many migrants were packing their things and preparing to find safe haven. The cacophonous din of vuvuzelas in the World Cup final stadium had virtually drowned out the fearful protests lodged by members of this African diaspora. As media attention regarding the increasing likelihood of violence mounted, state officials claimed to have heard no credible evidence supporting
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
Figure 4.1 Fans at FIFA World Cup Draw, 2010, Cape Town.
what they said were mere rumours. While the tournament concluded peacefully, I highlight this passage to indicate how, the veracity at the heart of the hushed gossip and hearsay circulating within South Africa’s townships resonated at a wavelength that was seemingly inaudible to those perched at the highest echelons of the South African government while they enjoyed the tournament. As I will show, sound, silence, noise and resonance will be key tropes through which notions of Africanness and South Africanness were mediated during the World Cup tournament. This chapter looks at the vuvuzela and the contested claims made about the binding power of its sound and its cultural heritage significance during the FIFA 2010 World Cup. The sound of the horn came to represent material and symbolic tropes that were said to represent the African and South African character of the tournament (Dubin 2011) and appears as a reference point in literature addressing the tournament’s alleged role in shaping a sporting patriotism that contributed to nation-building in South Africa (Human Sciences Resource Council 2011, Ndlovu-Gatsheni 2011; Serra and Shaw 2014). This chapter adds to literature that unpacks the broader resonances of the social history of football and popular culture were also explored in independently organized heritage projects and publications (see Alegi 2006; Rassool and Slade 2013). I argue
that the vuvuzela provides a useful material and symbolic entry point into the branding of the FIFA 2010 World Cup as African, South African cultural event, practices of heritage formation, nation-building and sonic sensibilities because of the vigorous contestation it elicited during the tournament. Comprised of data drawn from narratives published in the electronic and print media before and during the tournament, and supplemented with scholarly texts, the argument in this chapter is divided into four sections. The first section briefly looks at the transactions in national and continental imagery developed around South Africa’s bid for the World Cup tournament, and pays special attention to the ways in which President Thabo Mbeki’s Pan-African vision of an African Renaissance was worked through and framed in South Africa’s official tender for the 2010 tournament. The second section discusses how Masincedane Sport, a small vuvuzela manufacturer, positioned itself as the sole authentic retailer of horn. Section three outlines the cultural and historical arguments FIFA and South African football officials used to frame the vuvuzela as a heritage form. The final section outlines the contestation regarding Masincedane Sport’s ownership of the instrument, and the problematic ways in which it framed South African and African subjectivity. Overall, I show how the vuvuzela was produced, circulated and consumed as a heritage form in the context of the FIFA 2010 World Cup and how that process of construction concerned the mediation and negotiation of ideas about ‘Africanness’ and ‘South Africanness’ as indexed by the instrument’s sound.
South Africa’s tournament, Africa’s stage One origin for the vuvuzela’s worldwide fame is in the noise made around South Africa securing the right to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and the political, social and cultural significance of major sports events in the post-apartheid era. South Africa established a record for successfully staging international sports competitions through the 1990s into the new millennium. These included the hosting of the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the 1996 African Nation’s Cup, the 1999 All Africa Games and the 2003 Cricket World Cup. These events were framed by the state as being economically beneficial, and as holding out social, cultural and political import for nation-building. Since Nelson Mandela’s presidency in 1994, sporting mega-events had been actively drawn upon by the state as a medium for fostering nation-building, particularly because, in a country divided by deep racial divisions, sports appeared to appeal to South Africans from all walks of
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
life (Van der Westhuizen 2008). The patriotic fervour sparked by South Africa hosting and winning the 1995 Rugby World Cup and the 1996 African Nation’s Cup helped emphasize the social and cultural importance of sports mega events. The state recognized that these events presented a major opportunity to try and persuade the South African public to embrace new symbols of state, such as the flag and the new national anthem, and link sporting excitement and patriotic pride in processes of nation-building (see Black and Naughright 1998; Booth 1999; Carlin 2008). Sports mega-events were an important arena in which branding and marketing practices intersected with nation-building. In 2000, buoyed by its recent successes hosting international sports competitions, South Africa made a pitch to host the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Considering that football is by far the most popular sport in South Africa, the FIFA World Cup was seen as an opportunity to further foster sporting patriotism. The initiative was also linked to then president Thabo Mbeki’s drive to institute an African Renaissance by mobilizing Pan-African patriotism.2 Unfortunately, South Africa failed narrowly, losing out to Germany. Addressing the nation immediately after the announcement, President Mbeki expressed his ‘deep disappointment’ about the outcome, remarking that it was not only a loss for South Africa but also a tragic day for Africa, saying, ‘Their message and ours did not succeed to convince the majority on the FIFA Executive that Africa’s time has come.’3 Mbeki went on to suggest that, since the bid was issued on behalf of the African continent, South Africa’s failure could be understood as yet another snub in a long history of colonial oppression: ‘The issue was not Africa’s readiness’, he averred, but rather the readiness of Europeans ‘to accept that Africa is part of the global human family’.4 According to Mbeki’s reasoning, then, South Africa’s failure to secure the World Cup bid marked the exclusion of Africa and Africans from the ‘global human family’. Nevertheless, he concluded his televised address with the emphatic statement, ‘Next time we will win’ (Alegi 2010: 128). In 2001, FIFA President Joseph (Sepp) Blatter instituted a motion to modify the rules regarding how the hosting rights for the tournament were allocated resulting in the implementation of a continental rotation system that would start with Africa. Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Morocco would all go on to bid for the tournament, but South Africa was by far the favourite. In the lead up to FIFA’s decision regarding the award of the 2010 tournament, Mbeki elaborated on his interpretation of what the World Cup would mean for the continent of Africa. First, he pointed out that the World Cup would further propel the continent on the extraordinary transformative journey on which it had already embarked. The tournament would be ‘coming to Africa for the first
time, coming to an Africa going through its moment of rebirth’.5 This was ‘an African journey of hope’, proceeding towards a future ‘free of wars, refugees and displaced people, free of tyranny, of racial, ethnic and religious divisions and conflicts, of hunger, and the accumulated weight of centuries of the denial of our human dignity’.6 Second, FIFA’s decision to grant the hosting rights to an African nation would mark its entry into a contract with Africa to overcome the adversities that stood in the way of reaching this goal. By deciding to allocate the rights to an African nation, FIFA would be sending a message ‘to all Africans, both on the continent and the African diaspora, that you are ready and willing to accompany us on our journey of hope, and [this would give] us the strength and stamina we need to traverse the difficult terrain that separates us from Africa’s renaissance’.7 Finally, the decision would mark the fulfilment of the restoration of African personhood at the centre of the celebration of a global humanity.8 The World Cup provided ‘a global stage’ on which nations and peoples of the world could gather together and affirm their common humanity and ‘experience the reality that we belong to one human family, regardless of race, colour, gender, age, political and religious belief, and country or continent of origin’.9 Summing up, in Thabo Mbeki’s estimation, the World Cup signified FIFA’s entering into a partnership that would catalyse the transformation of African consciousness, restore a fractured African personhood and mark the incorporation of Africans into a global humanity. South Africa was the clear front runner of the African nations competing for the rights to host the event. The World Cup Bid Book, South Africa’s official contractual proposition to FIFA, sports historian Peter Alegi (2010) points out, was comprised of a narrative that demonstrated not only South Africa’s logistical capabilities but also their capability to fashion an appealing ‘African’ brand image of South Africa ready for global consumption. As the Bid Book declared, ‘South Africa offers FIFA security through its commercial strength and advanced infrastructure, and the prospect of a joyful, happy and emotional first FIFA World Cup in Africa.’10 Scarlett Cornelissen (2004) has shown that a similar branding exercise was mobilized by Morocco. Moreover, Alegi explains, first the World Cup became a branding project engaged with the specific purpose of posturing the image of a leading, modern African nation state to the world. As Thabo Mbeki explained in the cover letter of the Bid Book, ‘We want, on behalf of our continent, to stage an event that will send ripples of confidence from the Cape to Cairo – an event that will create social and economic opportunities across Africa.’11 Second, as is evident, the state’s commitment to the tournament was linked to Thabo Mbeki’s political philosophy of the African Renaissance, as
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
a broad attempt to exhibit a ‘world-class Pan-Africanism’ (Bolsmann 2012). As Thabo Mbeki affirmed in the preface to the Bid Book, ‘The foundation of this Bid lies in our resolve to ensure that the 21st Century unfolds as a century of growth and development in Africa … the successful hosting of the FIFA World Cup in Africa will provide a powerful, irresistible momentum to this resolute African renaissance.’12 South Africa’s official proposal to FIFA mediated a complex set of relations between the past and the future, South Africa, Africa and the world. As I will show in the following sections, the vuvuzela manifests as a heritage form against this background of nationalist, Pan-Africanist global posturing and resounds with this complex set of meanings in the context of the World Cup.
Masincedane Sport The final announcement for the hosting rights to the FIFA 2010 World Cup was made on 15 May 2004, in Zurich, Switzerland. The South African bid committee dispatched to the event included politicians, sports officials, prominent business people and former president Nelson Mandela. To emphasize their pride in South Africa’s football legacy and in anticipation of a positive outcome, the South African delegates brought along regalia synonymous with local football fan culture, such as makarapas (decorative hard hats) and vuvuzelas. When Sepp Blatter drew the winning bid from the award envelope announcing that South Africa would be the 2010 FIFA World Cup host nation, the room exploded in loud cheers and stunning salvos of braying vuvuzelas. Nelson Mandela wept tears of joy, and the effervescent sonorous atmosphere of jubilation echoed across South Africa in broadcast scenes showing the public resounding in joyous, celebratory blowing of the horn. Rejoicing in distinctively South African festive style, the delegation claimed success as the first African host nation of the FIFA World Cup. As far as vuvuzelas were used to signal South Africa’s victory, the occasion also served as the first major international platform where the trumpet was presented to the world as an instantly recognizable sonic emblem for football culture in South Africa, Africa’s World Cup host nation. The vuvuzelas that South African delegates used to fill FIFA’s head office with a unique sound has a fascinating history. The horns were supplied by Masincedane Sport, a small, Cape-Town-based manufacturer. The horn’s imbrication in narratives of South African and African cultural Renaissance and ascendance as a heritage form is closely related to Masincedane Sport’s growth as a business and the strategies it employed in negotiating state and market forces to promote
the company and its product before and during the World Cup. This relatively unknown company had simple origins in local football fan culture. According to Neil van Schalkwyk, the public face and founding partner of the venture, it was while playing semi-professional football in the late 1990s that he noticed how the vuvuzela helped create a raucous festive atmosphere at local matches.13 At the time, however, vuvuzelas were flimsy, rudimentary, handmade contraptions made from metal, and were used only by a few of the most passionate football fans. There was therefore no popular, entrenched tradition of vuvuzela horn blowing at football matches in South Africa prior to the 2000s. After acquiring a home-made prototype, van Schalkwyk applied his nascent skills in injection plastic moulding to copy its shape. He eventually cast a plastic replica that expelled a loud, consistent B-flat note. Converting a crude, homemade noise-making instrument into a reliable, efficient, easily replicable plastic horn, van Schalkwyk transformed an idiosyncratic manifestation of local football fan culture into a marketable commodity as a kind of material invented tradition (Hobsbawm and Ranger 1983). Recognizing the commercial potential of his innovation, van Schalkwyk partnered with his friend and former boss Beville Bachman, and registered their joint venture under the name Masincedane Sport in 2001. Marketing and brand promotion played an important role in Masincedane Sport’s commercial success (Figure 4.2). Initially, the company struggled. In the first year of trading, van Schalkwyk estimated that the company only sold around 500 units. In his understanding, weak sales could be attributed to the South African football public’s sheer lack of interest. In the beginning, they had to create a sense of interest in the product, by, for example, handing out vuvuzelas for free at matches. Masincedane Sport’s sales volume began to grow in 2003 in line with increasing speculation regarding South Africa’s chances for hosting the 2010 World Cup. By that year they had also secured contracts to supply Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, South Africa’s two biggest football clubs, and had partnered with Proudly South African, a national branding project aimed at boosting local business, to help promote the company. One major early success was securing the contract to supply the horns gifted to the FIFA technical inspectors that visited South Africa as part of the 2010 bid process.14 Through these marketing endeavours aimed at attracting the public’s attention to the vuvuzela, Masincedane Sport actively engaged in fulfilling the claim made in their company slogan, ‘Creating Sporting Culture’. The energetic and savvy marketing promotions which Masincedane Sport employed in trying to attract public interest and grow their business
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
Figure 4.2 Neil van Schalkwyk demonstrating his product to journalists, June 2010.
were, significantly, supported by SAB-Miller, a locally based, multinational corporation. Soon after registering the venture in 2001, Masincedane’s business owners successfully applied to participate in SAB-Miller’s Kick Start Small Business Programme. ‘Aimed at 18 to 35 year-olds from previously disadvantaged backgrounds’, the Kick Start programme was launched in 1995 initially as a poverty alleviation project but ‘subsequently became a platform to stimulate sustainable enterprise development’.15 Small businesses were provided with long-term financial and legal mentoring and corporate support, which in combination added significant impetus to the sustainability of participating enterprises. Masincedane Sport was one of the programme’s shining success stories. SAB-Miller ‘touted the Cape-based [enterprise] as being the first small black business to benefit from South Africa’s World Cup bid victory’.16 Affirming their faith in the enterprise, SAB-Miller stepped up their assistance, providing financial aid and corporate and legal guidance in anticipation of the business’ expansion heading into 2010. For example, they facilitated Masincedane Sport trademarking the rights to the word vuvuzela, which was employed on packaging and across different marketing media. As the SABMiller spokesperson Michael Farr pointed out, the gesture was not merely about supporting a small South African business, but about protecting the intellectual
property of the South African nation: ‘Given the overwhelming popularity of the instrument, SAB-Miller was keen that everybody should know that the product was created by a South African and that his labour should be respected.’17 By helping Masincedane Sport register the trademark rights to the word vuvuzela, SAB-Miller intended to strike a legal boundary between legitimate local production and illegal foreign replication. As Michael Farr put it, SAB-Miller assisted Masincedane with his application so as to avoid the risk of ‘anyone capitalising on his business unfairly’.18 With SAB-Miller’s assistance Masincedane Sport was able to stake a legal claim over a concept for their product, claim authority as a legitimate local supplier and position the as a dominant player in the market leading up to the World Cup. Nevertheless, recognizing the increasing pitch of public interest in the state’s campaign to host the 2010 tournament, Masincedane Sport’s owners employed skilled marketing strategies focused on entering into the fervour around the national bid. As Neil van Schalkwyk explained, ‘With that momentum building up [around the bid] we tried to strategically place our product, you know. When they had the bid book hand over [in 2003] and so forth, leading up to the announcement in May 2004, we made sure that the product was, you know, at all the right public viewing areas.’19 At major events related to the bid, they especially made sure that their product was in the hands of important officials before they took to the stage to promote the state’s campaign. The company’s greatest marketing coup was, however, the spontaneous eruption of reverberating vuvuzelas at the Zurich head office and televised inserts of celebrating fans all across South Africa. ‘I think that’s where the first real media interest came about around the vuvuzela,’ Neil van Schalkwyk declared.20 The resounding, loud celebration that erupted in Zurich established the link between the trumpet and South African sporting culture and, as celebration of the African host nation, marked an instantly recognizable aural signifier for the African brand image of the tournament. Masincedane Sport’s product slogan played on such nationalist posturing since it claimed that their vuvuzelas made ‘the Original Sound of South Africa’. Lobbing the instrument into a central position in the state’s campaign to host the World Cup, Masincedane Sport actively blurred the lines between culture, patriotism and marketing, mobilizing a branding project that emphasized their product’s ‘authentic’ South African sound. Masincedane Sport was therefore not merely engaged in building its brand, but was also building a case for the authenticity of its product and its legitimate ownership over it (see Lindholm 2008) in the context of South Africa winning the World Cup Bid.
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
Notably, Masincedane Sport emphasized that it was not so much concerned with the cultural value of the horn as much as it was concerned with its value as a product that could advance economic empowerment in Africa and South Africa. Neil van Schalkwyk stressed the hard work it took to ‘get the vuvuzela to be what it is today, to create the atmosphere that is unique to South African soccer’, through partnering with companies such as Proudly South African, Orlando Pirates and Kaiser Chiefs.21 He argued that now it was the turn of the state to protect and promote local businesses. Masincedane Sport exemplified this spirit of commercial support and cooperation, he said, because the company name was derived from the isiXhosa term meaning ‘let’s help each other out’. Drawing on the spirit of vernacular knowledge of communal reciprocity coded into the name of his business, Neil van Schalkwyk issued a formal challenge to government and business with Masincedane Sport’s slogan: ‘Let us help each other – Africa 1st.’22 He also insisted on his product’s ‘authenticity’, pointing to its defining features, saying, ‘We are the only manufacturer of the Proudly South African Vuvuzela and the world is insisting on the authentic Vuvuzela. They want nothing but the real thing.’23 The use of the trademarked word vuvuzela was an added authenticating feature. In this way, it appeared, Masincedane Sport’s claim to legitimacy as a manufacturer of ‘authentic’ horn was mobilized as part of its contest with the forces of the market and the South African state and centred on a value proposition that framed the company as South African and African.
FIFA and State Sanction I have shown how the sound of the vuvuzela generated but also blocked perceptions and ideas about African and South African cultural identity. Here I want to expand the analysis to think about sound, acoustic space and resonance. Literature addressing sound and acoustics in Africa has often focused on the practice of religion and space, be it urban space (de Witte 2008) or public space (Hirschkind 2006). I want to try and think about it as a conceptual space for structuring resonance and affinity but also aversion. In Laws of Media, McLuhan and McLuhan posit that ‘acoustic space, always penetrated by tactility and other senses, is spherical, discontinuous, non-homogenous, resonant, and dynamic’ (1988: 33). Acoustic space is open, fluid and binding. It is a ‘flux in which figure and ground rub against and transform each other’ (1988: 33). As will be shown, the sound of the vuvuzela would reverberate in conceptual space, structuring and mediating semiotic relations between Africa, South Africa and the world, as an abstract medium that staged the conditions for negotiating what it meant to be African and South African during the World Cup.
Portents of the horn’s conceptual mediation first rang out in 2009 when the vuvuzela would both affirm and disrupt the fluid, constitutive power of sound during the Confederations Cup, an official international FIFA tournament that served as a trial run for the World Cup. Featuring some of the best football nations from across the world, the Confederations Cup also benchmarked global perceptions of South Africa as a host nation. It was the first time that trumpets became the focus of attention of an international audience unaccustomed to South Africa’s new loud, boisterous football fan culture. Indeed, the buzzing drone of thousands of vuvuzelas trumpeted during live broadcast matches came as a shock to both European players and audiences. Spanish football player Xabi Alonso commented, ‘We’re used to people shouting but not to this trumpet noise which doesn’t allow you to concentrate and is unbearable. … They are a distraction and do nothing for the atmosphere’; British viewers also complained about the noise interfering with their viewing pleasure, saying, ‘It’s just a nasty harsh noise and it does my head in’; ‘I can hardly hear the commentary … it really sucks … can’t even hear the fans cheering … only sounds that echoes is the high pitch trumpets blown by 5000 lunatics.’24 Yet many online pundits also defended the vuvuzela, by, for example, framing the sound as emblematic of African fan culture. One spectator said, for example, ‘I am shocked that anyone in their right mind would attack our African values. When the World Cup was awarded to South Africa, everyone knew very well that drums, trumpets and whistles would be part of the game.’25 Or concerning African heritage, ‘Vuvuzelas are here to stay because it’s part of the African heritage, unique to South African Soccer show.’26 Some spectators also remarked on how the sound marked South Africa’s African cultural distinctiveness, ‘It is a recognised sound of football in South Africa and is absolutely essential for an authentic South African footballing experience. After all, what would be the point of taking the World Cup to Africa, and then trying to give it a European feel?’27 What I hope to show is that not only did the sound interfere with viewers’ ability to appreciate the televised game. It also became an important arena in which to debate and negotiate African and South African cultural heritage and identity. Stark oppositions were drawn in debates about the place of this unusual, earpiercing, persistent sound in the context of international football tournaments. As the above quotes show, the sound of the horn was unavoidably rousing. It resonated. The ethnomusicologist Veit Erlmann (2010: 12) contends that resonance implies the conjunction of subject and object, ‘adjacency, sympathy and the collapse of the boundary between perceiver and perceived’. As the ‘mechanism that generations of scientists have taken to be at the base of how the
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
human ear works’, the human experience of sound resonance, Erlmann claims, speaks to hearing as an embodied practice. With potentially damaging volume (see Swanepoel et al. 2010), the vuvuzela’s braying sound reverberated among football audiences around the world, creating a live, yet mediated soundscape that shaped perceptions of Africa and South Africa.28 Debates about the meaning of the sound generated by the instrument initiated questions of noise and harmony, and the apparent resonance or dissonance of particular arguments about South African and African subjectivities in the context of global football fan culture. ‘Noise’, Goddard et al. (2013: 4) explain, ‘seems to stand for a lack of aesthetic grace, to be against enjoyment or pleasure, to alienate or distract, rather than enrapture it penetrates the body rather than transports the listener’. By sparking a raucous debate about noise and harmony in the context of ‘Africanness’ and ‘South Africanness’ the vuvuzela arguably conjured a global listening public, where listening is seen as a category that encompasses ‘the realm of the sensory, embodied experience and the political realm of debate and deliberation’ (Lacey 2013: 8). While visual culture was used by football officials to articulate narratives about how the World Cup would spur development in Africa (Manzo 2012), the vuvuzela created an organically generated soundscape that emanated from Africa and reverberated around the world. It was in this context of amplifying, fierce debate about the place of vuvuzelas in football, particularly the broadcasting of football matches to an international audience, that FIFA and the South African state publicly staked their positions regarding the horn. In these instances, they mounted arguments that clearly situated the instrument’s place in South African football culture as a matter of African cultural heritage. This is best illustrated by the complex, historically grounded arguments these bodies advanced in online promotional material published on official World Cup 2010 platforms. In March 2009, on the official South African 2010 World Cup website, an article entitled ‘Get Your Vuvuzelas Ready for 2010’ provided an elaborate account of the cultural history of the horn.29 It cited the celebratory atmosphere around FIFA’s awarding of the 2010 hosting rights as the defining moment of the vuvuzela’s public profile, and then corroborated its local significance citing testimony provided by Putco Mafani, described as a progenitor of the ‘Vuvuzela movement’.30 The horn had deep historical roots, Mafani explained: ‘First, the horn is an African instrument and back in the days it was used in wars and to mark celebrations. Because South Africans do not have access to the animal horn back then, they use the Vuvuzela and when it is blown, you are guaranteed to get a
reaction from people.’31 In contemporary South Africa, the article claimed, it was used to rally the crowds and communicate with players: ‘South African players know when they hear the sound of a Vuvuzela, it is time for action, the players are used to it and they associate it with playing … fans would start blowing Vuvuzelas and for players to start playing and it used to get the mood right.’32 Accordingly, it was claimed, the horn defined South African football culture, but also permeated fan culture across Africa. ‘There is a place for Vuvuzelas in 2010; the event will be like no other World Cup. … The use of the instrument has extended to other African countries, supporters from Nigeria, Ivory Coast were blowing Vuvuzelas at matches during the African Cup [of Nations Football Tournament] recently, it has become an African symbol of celebrations.’33 The claim that the horn was capable of forging a Pan-African solidarity in sound was reiterated by Mzion Mofokeng, Orlando Pirates’ number one supporter. As he recounted, ‘I remember when I was in Ghana for the [African Nations Cup], supporters of other countries kept [asking] about the instrument and they were very excited to see me blowing it and I wanted them [to know] how it is done.’34 Extrapolating from this encounter, in his estimation, the World Cup would be a stage showcasing African solidarity brought on by the resonant sound of the vuvuzela: ‘Come 2010 … those who will be visiting South Africa will be treated to [the] African sound of the Vuvuzela.’35 The article also quoted Beville Bachman, partner in Masincedane Sport, who also emphasized the vuvuzela’s potential to accentuate the World Cup’s African cultural significance, saying, ‘The 2010 World Cup would not be reaching its full status of a truly African World Cup without the atmosphere which the Vuvuzela has created at our stadiums and other event venues.’36 In sum, this official narrative claimed that the horn hailed from apparently ancient indigenous traditions in South Africa, emphasized its indelible historical link with South African football spectatorship and asserted its unifying power as a cohesive force of Pan-African cultural solidarity. A similar account appeared in the article ‘Vuvuzela: A Symbol of South Africa’ published on the official FIFA website in June 2009.37 The article claimed that just as the Swiss ring cowbells and Mexicans initiated the Mexican wave so too in South Africa there existed a tradition of blowing vuvuzelas. The trumpet was described as a ‘vociferous air horn that reverberates around arenas with rare energy. It is also a proud and permanent symbol of its patrons.’38 The vuvuzela had deep South African cultural and historical roots, the article claimed, having ‘originally been made from a kudu [buck] horn. Folklore has it that, in the ancient days, it was used to summon people to gatherings.’39 The article suggested that
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
the horn was a ‘traditional’ instrument that, according to folkloristic tradition, featured in the bonding of indigenous collectivities. Vuvuzelas also resonated with modern South African cultural history as a material form that resonated with the pain of apartheid oppression and the black struggle for dignity and freedom. Mzion Mofokeng was quoted as saying, When we started the vuvuzela, there was so much sadness in our country in those years and it brought so much joy. … All of a sudden people would go to the stadiums because of this instrument that was able to get fans on their feet and start cheering. For [a] few hours, they would forget about the reality in our society and enjoy the sound.40
Following this reasoning, it was claimed that during apartheid vuvuzelas enabled novel sonic expression that provided both psychological relief and revitalizing power. This suggested that, in contemporary South Africa, vuvuzelas aroused the kinds of strong emotions and sensations that defined the pleasure of football spectatorship. As well-known football fan, Freddie Sadaam Maake explained, ‘It brings a special feeling to the stadiums. It is something that makes the fans want to get behind their team.’41 It was on the basis of this constructed cultural history, which claimed the horn established a connection between contemporary South African spectator traditions and ‘ancient’ African histories of ‘traditional’ cultural practice, that FIFA based their tacit endorsement of the horn. As the then FIFA head, Sepp Blatter announced, ‘It is African culture, we are in Africa and we have to allow them to practice their culture as much as they want to. … Vuvuzelas, drums and [singing] are part of African football culture. It is part of their celebration, it is part of their culture, so let them blow the vuvuzelas.’42 Yet the volume of grievances only grew after the start of the World Cup, with players and audiences issuing a volley of appeals for the vuvuzela to be banned. Football star Lionel Messi complained, saying, ‘It is impossible to communicate, it’s like being deaf ’; Portuguese international Cristiano Ronaldo concurred, saying, ‘It is difficult for anyone on the pitch to concentrate. A lot of players don’t like them, but they are going to have to get used to them.’43 The BBC received some 200 complaints during the first few days of the tournament, and audiences around the world struggled to cope with the droning buzz that emanated from their television sets every time they tuned in to watch the matches. Acoustic space may be spherical and fluid, uniting and connecting in McLuhan and McLuhan’s terms (1988), but it was also annoyingly arresting, nerve-wracking and distracting. The sound of the vuvuzela definitely interfered with the viewing pleasure of international football viewers. FIFA and South African
football officials moved to dismiss the possibility of banning the instrument, and, instead, emphasized its significance as an African cultural instrument and practice derived from ancient indigenous traditions and history of South African football fan culture. ‘Vuvuzelas are a cultural phenomenon for our country and for football,’ said Rich Mkhondo, spokesperson for the Local Organizing Committee.44 As Sepp Blatter stated, ‘I have always said that Africa has a different rhythm, a different sound. … I don’t see banning the music traditions of fans in their own country.’45 When the head of FIFA made such statements, FIFA and South African football authorities actively engaged in practices of heritage formation, mobilizing narratives of origin, contesting and silencing aspersions about the sound’s influence on viewing pleasure and rhetorically elevating its status from a cheap, disposable plastic horn to a valourized heritage form. The controversy and popularity of the vuvuzela presented a prime opportunity for other corporate entities to market and promote their own products. For example, the Korean car manufacturing company Hyundai kicked off their nation-wide advertising campaign by linking their products to the sound of the instrument and the effervescent, even religious-like exciting sentiments whipped up by the tournament. As a riff on the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s slogan, ‘Feel It. It Is Here’, Hyundai developed the catch phrase, ‘We bring the Gees’ [spirit]. To amplify its marketing campaign, it constructed a thirty-sevenmetre-long vuvuzela on an abandoned flyover bridge in Cape Town city centre. The biggest vuvuzela in the world, the instrument was not merely a striking piece of visual advertising but also brought the company’s slogan to life sonically in the form of a fully operational noisemaker that hooted for every goal scored during the tournament (Figure 4.3).46 Hyundai’s biggest success of the tournament was in promoting the notion of gees as the essence of positive, pervasive collective feeling linked to vuvuzelas. Gees is an Afrikaans word meaning spirit or ghost, and is specifically derived from Christian religious rhetoric. As a religious term, it captured the rousing sensations evoked by the tournament, focussing them in a concise, lofty expression that evoked a binding, uniting religious-like sentiment at the time. Gees is suggestive of Emile Durkheim’s notion of collective effervescence. The tournament and particularly the noise generated by thousands of vuvuzelas were associated with feelings of celebratory excitement and togetherness. Sven Ismer (2011: 555) has shown that states of ‘collective effervescence do not only tie individuals to a community but also provide a strong frame for the creation of symbols and the embodiment of shared meanings defining a community’. Taking this lead, I wish to assert that the pervasive atmosphere, this collective
Interestingly, the sound of the vuvuzela could also unite international audiences in novel and unexpected ways. In a letter written during the World Cup to the Cape Times newspaper entitled ‘United We Blow’, a reader named Nathan Casey argued for its unifying power as an ‘international unification tool’.52 He described an encounter with a group of friends including Italians, Brazilians, Americans and English, gathered together in a pub in Cape Town, ‘Passing [the vuvuzela] around like a peace pipe, laughing as my British girlfriend taught a true African how to blow it properly … we befriended and bonded with folks from all over the world.’53 It was a galvanizing experience that rang out long into the night: ‘We all sang and vuvu’d down the street, and left feeling the world was a smaller place and we could learn and teach so much during the [tournament].’54 Invoking Native American indigenous traditions of community building through shared smoking, Casey suggested that the instrument could cohere an international group of football fans by staging the communal sharing of sound in Africa. Clearly, different agents extracted different messages, about bonding, nation, culture and history, from the vuvuzela’s allegedly monotonous sounds. In that sense the trumpet facilitated a politics of aesthetics because it framed complex relationships of resonance and dissonance, of division and togetherness, in the reverberant droning produced by thousands of disposable plastic horns (Rancière 2010). Nevertheless, whether interpreted as resonant or dissonant, harmonious or noisy, the volume of this polarized debate added to the persuasiveness of official statements that the vuvuzela was a heritage form simply because it was difficult not to talk about the instrument in other ways.
Counterclaims and contestation As a controversy laden disruptive aesthetic form, generating controversy, the vuvuzela was a divisive matter (Latour 2005). As we have begun to see, not everybody was in harmony with the arguments being made by dominant stakeholders about its significance and sound. FIFA, the South African state and Masincedane Sport had all vested interests in the instrument that were interrelated around mediations of South African and African subjectivity. All of these claims were subject to contestation and debate that first concerned the authenticity of the vuvuzela as a cultural form and second the African and South African images and subjectivities it was meant to sustain. First, critiques about the vuvuzela’s authenticity as a South African and African cultural form arose as a challenge to Masincedane Sport’s claim to
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
original ownership. For example, the football fan Freddie Maake and the Shembe Church, a branch of the Nazareth Baptist Church, advanced competing claims about the origin, invention and ultimate ownership of the instrument. For his part, Freddie Maake, Kaizer Chiefs’ number one supporter and ambassador for the South African national football team, argued that he’d invented the first vuvuzela in 1965, and supported his claim with photographic evidence: ‘I started with an old bicycle horn that used to have a black rubber. … I removed the rubber and blew it with my mouth.’55 He then constructed a gigantic four-metre long aluminium horn, which he billed as ‘the father of all the vuvuzelas you see today’.56 He also claimed to have invented the word vuvuzela, saying, ‘I started the Vuvuzela back in 1989 and we used to call it all sorts of names, some used to call it phalaphala, trumpet and so on, but I came up with the name Vuvuzela.’57 Maake supplied a series of photographs and a copy of his 1999 musical album Vuvuzela Cellular to corroborate his claim. As sports journalist Phatisani Moyo testified to having seen, ‘The common denominator in all the pictures [showing Maake’s] journey from Kaizer Chiefs matches in the 1970’s and 1980’s to South Africa’s readmission to international football … is that he is the only supporter holding a vuvuzela.’58 It was plainly evident, he concluded, that Freddie Maake was ‘a man with a long history with the instrument’.59 Maake was deeply aggrieved that others were illegally capitalizing on what he claimed was his invention: ‘This is my invention and it saddens me that other people are benefiting from all the suffering I have endured in popularising the vuvuzela.’60 He directed his ire at Masincedane Sport, who he felt had unfairly exploited his original invention, saying, ‘The most I have received from Neil [van Schalkwyk] is R2 500 back in 2004. … He is making a killing while I starve.’61 Conversely, the Shembe Church’s claim, which was alleged to date back to 1910 (i.e. around the time of the church’s establishment by Prophet Isaiah Shembe) held that the prototype of the contemporary trumpet was the izimbomu, a ceremonial horn used in rituals of healing, worship and rites of pilgrimage. As Enoch Mthembu, a public relations officer for a branch of the church explained, ‘It was introduced in 1910 by Prophet Isaiah Shembe, who is the founder of our church, to play alongside African drums when we dance and worship God.’62 The izimbomu was also used in rituals of healing: ‘We can make miracles happen when we use the vuvuzelas to heal sick people.’63 Finally, the horn played an important role in an annual rite of pilgrimage. Every year thousands of church members dressed in flowing white gowns gathered for a three-day ritual of pilgrimage, blowing their horns, carrying sacred paraphernalia, chanting and singing as they ascended the sacred mountain, Mount Nhlangakazi, in KwaZulu-Natal province. For the
Shembe, the izimbomu had sacred significance. Their concerns about its use at football matches were therefore not merely about its commercial exploitation, but the exploitation of its revered religious power. As the Reverend Goga, a branch elder explained, ‘When people are playing football and hearing the vuvuzela, they are getting the power of our Holy Spirit.’64 The Shembe Church therefore based its claim to the horn on a history of religious use stretching back over a century. As Enoch Mthembu bluntly put it, ‘This thing [the vuvuzela] belongs to the church.’65 The Shembe Church took issue with Masincedane Sport’s trademark, and eventually negotiated a financial settlement.66 At the same time, however, members of the church publicly claimed that the izimbomu’s theft occurred in the early 1990s following a visit from an outsider with a passion for football. As BBC journalist Jonah Fisher explained, ‘The Shembe say they lost the vuvuzela back in the 1990’s when a supporter of South Africa’s biggest football team, Kaizer Chiefs, visited the church. Unable to take the long metal trumpet inside football grounds he re-modelled it in plastic.’67 The church therefore accused Freddie Maake of appropriating their holy horn. Indeed, Maake had confessed to having entered into a business arrangement to produce marketable plastic horns at one point, saying, ‘I approached someone who ran a manufacturing company and he made the first plastic version – a yellow one very much like those you see today. We called them Boogieblasts and sold them at games.’68 This venture appears to have failed. Summing up, it seems that while Freddie Maake argued that Masincedane Sport had appropriated his invention, Maake himself appears to have appropriated the instrument from the Shembe Church. This complex web of claims and counterclaims over ownership and theft showed that the vuvuzela was a generic cultural form that could be associated with indigenous South African religious traditions but also with horn blowing traditions all over the world. Indeed, the South African law firm Spoor and Fischer, specialists in South African copyright law, argued that because of the complex nature of the contestation in South Africa, it could be argued that ‘the trade mark vuvuzela has become generic and that no single party will be able to claim ownership of the name vuvuzela when referring to the ‘musical instrument’ (Van Rooyen 2010: 11). This generic quality availed the instrument to claims and appropriations that became all the more significant when the financial and cultural stakes were so greatly amplified as in the context of an international football tournament. Second, the image of African unity that the vuvuzela symbolized and sustained, an image developed and promoted by FIFA and the South African state and football officials, concealed problematic social realities in South Africa
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
and its relationship with Africa before and during the World Cup. For example, in my experience during the tournament, World Cup international audiences would not have heard the passionate cajoling and encouragement of local parents and coaches as they cheered on their children competing in amateur club and cup matches at William Herbert Sports Ground, in Wynberg, Cape Town. From May until September, hundreds of young amateur football players congregated at these football fields for weekly football matches. The atmosphere also lacked the shocking bray of vuvuzelas and the bright accoutrements associated with South African fan culture visible in the big football stadiums and all over the city centre. There was also little to no visible sign that the ground or any of the small, local clubs had materially benefited from the competition. It was also open to debate whether vuvuzela horn blowing was a shared African tradition. Beyond the southern African region, football fans across Africa enjoyed different spectator traditions such as drumming and singing, and were largely unfamiliar with the South African custom of blowing vuvuzelas. This is illustrated by an incident in 2010, when the South African High Commission in Nigeria handed over a gift of vuvuzelas to the Nigerian Football Supporters Club as part of its 2010 World Cup promotions campaign. The South African ambassador to Nigeria, Kingsley Mamabol presented thirty vuvuzelas to Dr Ladipo, president general of the Nigerian Football Supporters Club, with the express instruction that they be used during matches involving the Nigerian National Football Squad, explaining that ‘the noisy trumpet is currently regarded as an African identity’.69 While Dr Ladipo received the parcel graciously, he emphatically rejected ‘the assertion that Vuvuzela is an African identity’, stating that I am totally against this Vuvuzela nonsense. It is not our style of supporting the game. The blaring of Vuvuzela is a big distraction even to the players. … To support a team the players must understand your language and what you are saying to urge them on. Vuvuzela is alien to our football culture and we will fight its introduction.70
To him, the South African government’s drive to get African nations to adopt the vuvuzela was not an invitation to participate in Pan-African solidarity but rather a kind of cultural colonialism. ‘Every nation in the world has its own values,’ he declared, ‘and it is totally wrong for any nation to bring its own values to suppress others just because that country is hosting the world’.71 There were also symbolic and material problems related to the brand image of Africa and South Africa developed by FIFA and the South African state. For example, the philosopher Achille Mbembe was moved to ask how and in what
ways the rhetoric developed in the Bid Book would further the global image of Africa and South Africa, saying: Every indication is that ‘Africa, the cradle of humankind’ will be the dominant theme of the 2010 Soccer World Cup. On the world scene, such platitudes will only further relegate the continent to the realm of folklore. Not only does such a theme smack of nativism, it does not say anything meaningful about who we are, who we want to be, and what our proposition for the world is.72
More substantively, in their sociological analysis of the impact of the tournament, Ashwin Desai and Goolam Vahed (2010) have shown that there was a stark contrast between the rhetoric of tournament officials and the reality regarding the promises of development and Pan-African unity that the World Cup was meant to occasion. They argue first that the outbreak of xenophobic violence ‘against African immigrants and refugees during 2008’ and the government’s denials and ‘tardy response exposed a rabid inward looking nationalism’ (Desai and Vahed 2010: 156). There was little real sociological evidence supporting the claims for a PanAfrican solidarity advertised so profusely during the tournament. The political scientist Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni (2011: 279) concurred, saying, the tournament inspired ‘a strong spirit of national unity on the one hand, while simultaneously bringing into sharp focus glaring class divisions and threats of xenophobia, on the other’. Second, Desai and Vahed argue that the material benefits that were meant to accrue to ordinary Africans and South Africans around stadium construction (see Alegi 2008), trade and marketing were diverted to an elite minority and FIFA due to strict policy restrictions regarding development and trade. Indeed, prior to the tournament, ‘the actual benefits to African countries’ was never made clear, and with South Africa’s commercial dominance on the continent the World Cup simply presented another opportunity for ‘greater access for South African capital into the continents markets’ (Desai and Vahed 2010: 156). In this case, Desai and Vahed argued, if the South African state and football officials were really serious about using the tournament as a platform for ‘confronting progressive underdevelopment of Africa and its football’ then the real starting point would have had to be challenging ‘the very way FIFA functioned’ in structuring the tournament as a short-term, exploitative enterprise (2010: 156). Portrayed as a kind of millennial capitalist moment (Tayob 2012), the World Cup was depicted ‘by South African political and football leaders as a catalyst for the invigoration of the economy of the African continent … [while] the experience of African immigrants’ as well as ordinary Africans and South Africans ‘betrayed a different reality’ (Desai and Vahed 2010: 162; original
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emphasis). The World Cup presented a stage for the repetition of cultural and economic exploitation that state and football authorities had argued it would subvert. The vuvuzela therefore did not merely enable resonance, unity, solidarity and togetherness but also a kind of discord that excluded, marginalized and oppressed (see Hammond 2011).
Conclusion Stepping back from the cloud of noise generated about the vuvuzela, it is evident that the authentication of this disposable plastic horn also involved the production, circulation and negotiation of multiple, interrelated ideas of subjectivity. And as we have heard, various participants had different vested interests in the promotion of different, yet intersecting, notions of ‘Africanness’ and ‘South Africanness’ that arose in debate about the horn. The South African state had an interest in profiling the tournament as African, as part of a political branding project aimed at restoring the image of the continent in the eyes of the world. Masincedane Sports, the company that first patented the word vuvuzela with the support of SAB-Miller, had an interest in suggesting that its product was South African as a marketing premise that it felt the state should have supported to promote business not only in South Africa but also on the continent. For FIFA and South African football officials, the sound of the vuvuzela was important for creating an atmosphere that aligned with the overall brand image of the tournament as being African and South African. These different interests, broadly revolving around claims to and about Africa, South Africa and South Africanness, were worked through in a debate about the sound of the vuvuzela. The claim that the vuvuzela had heritage significance only appeared to heighten the stakes as it evoked historical discourses related to the derogation of African aesthetic worth which made criticism all the more fraught and the appearance of authenticity all the more appealing. As I demonstrated, perhaps one reason for heritage claims to gain traction around the vuvuzela was because of the ways in which stakeholders were able to use the sound to craft, simple clear distinctions between groups, places and time that seemed at first blush to make sense. For stakeholders like the state, FIFA and Masincedane Sport, it was important to make such neat distinctions when adopting positions in debates about the vuvuzela’s sound; claims that Africans loved it and Europeans, for example, hated it, that vuvuzela horn blowing was always a part of South African football culture and that most South Africans
were convinced about it and were invested in it. Yet, the sound was also not appreciated by all spectators and players, local and foreign, as it interfered with viewing pleasure and the ability of players to concentrate and communicate during the game. But local evidence from places like William Herbert Sports Ground in Cape Town and letters and other forms of public expression highlighted in this chapter troubled the idea that the sound structured neat insider and outsider. Indeed, I showed how and in what ways criticism from assumed supporters of the vuvuzela undermined it’s taken for granted popularity, and complicated the ways in which its sound was meant to gather collectivities together. In making this claim, I do not want to detract from the social significance of the instrument’s sound. Instead, I want to highlight that the ways in which it circulated during the tournament and how it was claimed to structure social relations was not as simple as it was purported. The starkest evidence for this came from African migrants whose complaints about looming xenophobic violence were dismissed during the tournament, their voices seemingly drowned out by the cacophony of the tournament. The vuvuzela’s near sudden, but also surprisingly commonsensical, manifestation as a heritage form also spoke to an essential material and symbolic quality of the instrument: its ephemerality. It was a disposable, cheap plastic horn loaded with the burden of national, perhaps even continental heritage significance. The vuvuzela generated sound that would reverberate historically, yet it also dissipated almost instantly in physical space. In some ways, its ephemerality also spoke to the popular patriotism that it helped enable, a patriotism based on positive feelings of unity and togetherness generated in a time-bound setting, that were then scattered following after the tournament as the economic reality of post-tournament costs and lack of real benefits hit home. The vuvuzela’s positioning as a heritage form, overall, showed the significance of sports and popular culture for shaping national unity, South Africa’s fraught relationship to the continent of Africa and the importance of sound for working out African and South African subjectivity in the global arena.
Braai nation: Taste, consumption and South African commemorative days
Introduction As I have shown throughout this book, in South Africa heritage experiments were very often opulently sensuous, crafted in ways that induced a wide spectrum of sensory modalities to convey the social significance of histories, people, places and things. The kind of historical and heritage work done at the Solms Delta wine farm located in the Franschoek Valley, just outside Cape Town, provides another example of the interconnectedness between heritage and the senses as forged in the context of an experimental market-driven venture. Solms Delta not only produces wine but like many other Cape wine farms, functions as a fully operational tourist destination. Its entertainment package is distinctive in that it recounts the history of wine farming in the region in ways that especially foreground the role of farm workers, indigenous peoples and cultures in ways that actively played on all of the senses. For example, upon my visit to the site, I visited their Music van de Caab Centre, ‘which shares research on the traditional music of the Cape’ captured in audiovisual clips beamed on screens throughout the small white exhibition space.1 The exhibition space had a display of musical instruments that one could also physically handle and play. Here was an interactive, multi-sensory exhibition that invited embodied engagement with a local history of music. But I found that it was especially through the sense of taste and consumption that the heritage interpretation of place and people was most sharply emphasized. Wines sold as part of the farm’s heritage collection were named after local dance styles, such as the Cape Jazz Shiraz, but also in recognition of the importance of place, such as the Hiervandan (from here) wine. The fruity fizziness of bottles sold within the range conveyed the conviviality of its branding. The farm’s cuisine was advertised as ‘Food of Origin’ that expressed
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
‘the diverse culinary history of the Cape, which unites European, Asian and African ingredients’.2 As a kind of rainbow cuisine (Snyman 2004), the farm offered a special three course heritage tasting menu that expressed what it claimed were the three traditions of Cape cuisine, namely the indigenous Cape Khoi, the Cape Dutch or boerekos, and Cape Malay, offering individual dishes from each culinary tradition all neatly separated on the plate. The sweet and spicy bobotie, the bitter and dense waterblommetje (water flowers) soup and the fragrant yellow rice were delicious, their sense of heritage conveyed most sharply through generous interpretive vignettes on the menu. The narratives, rustic farm setting and flavour created the effect that with every bite you felt like you were consuming tradition. Solms Delta’s food and beverage offering especially induced a complex notion of taste that interlaced sound, rhythm and movement with a sense of place and heritage. Solms Delta was not unique in packaging its history and sense of place for touristic consumption in these ways. Histories and legacies were common marketing tropes for farms throughout the Cape Winelands (Harvey et al. 2014) and elsewhere in the world (Ferreira and Hunter 2017). But its marketing promotions were in many respects distinctive in the way it grounded heritage claims in sensory experience, especially in regard to the way it mobilized the language and sense of taste to link the local with the region and by extension the nation. How can we understand the relationship between cuisine, taste and nation? In the article ‘Do Nations Have Stomachs?’ historian Paul Nugent wonders ‘whether a national identity can be forged through everyday acts of consumption – in particular, that of food and drink’ (2010: 87). Nugent invokes a dualistic notion of consumption, as ‘both in the literal sense of ingestion and in [the sense of] participation in a market’ (2010: 89). Combining the bodily act of ingestion and the act of capitalist exchange for goods that are sometimes basic but also desirable, consumption is a useful analytic, he argues, because ‘it couples selfhood with collective experiences’ that at once link ‘fundamental material needs (food and clothing), personal subjectivity and global processes’ (Nugent 2010: 89). Using this analytic he shows, for example, that some contemporary practices of consumption like ‘drinking tea during the heat of the day in a country such as Senegal, or imbibing a cold beer after a day’s work in South Africa’ are routinized in the same way that newspaper reading and coffee drinking were indexed by Benedict Anderson (1987) in Imagined Communities as contributing to the establishment of European national affinities (Nugent 2010: 94). These acts of consumption, which have ‘a meaning that goes well beyond the act of putting a glass to one’s lips’, are ‘planned for, eagerly anticipated and reflected
upon’, forming part of a ‘regular cycle of sociability that can be replicated across national space’ (Nugent 2010: 95). For Nugent food and drink are the primary modalities for explaining the convergence of consuming and the fostering of a national feeling. For example, he points to the case of France, where ‘the idea that eating is a mundane and non-reflexive act has been spurned for at least two hundred years’, and consumption was not merely incidental to national identity but ‘partly constitutive of it’ (Nugent 2010: 95). This is further affirmed by the anthropologist Nir Avieli who argues that barbecuing is a ‘Durkheimian ritual of cohesion, in which the community celebrates itself exposing and reaffirming its social structure and cultural arrangements’ (2017: 49). I want to follow Nugent’s line of analysis and move away from an interpretation that sees the constitution of the nation as occurring exclusively through the shared reading of texts and cogitation as emphasized by Benedict Anderson. Rather, I am interested in how community and nation are sensed. As David Howes and Constance Classen argue, ‘The phenomenon of nationalism … can never be adequately comprehended simply as an adherence to certain political ideals or social communities. It is always at the same time an attachment to particular tastes, smells, sounds and sights, which themselves carry cultural values and personal memories’ (2014: 65). This opens the way for exploring how meals can become politically encoded symbols and trigger feelings and sensations of shared political community. As Howes and Classen state, Whether they have been officially adopted by the state or acquired national significance through a more informal process, ‘politically-encoded and widely shared sensory symbols – sung anthems, waving flags, echoing church bells, traditional savours, verdant landscapes – can be as effective at inducing citizens to adhere to a national ideal, and even risk their lives in its defense as any amount of “rational” discourse’ disseminated via newspapers (2014: 73)
The braai in South Africa – that is, the practice of grilling food and meat over open coals and the communal eating in place – is a leisure pastime that bears the hallmarks of a widely shared, politically encoded sensory practice. It is suggestive of a national cuisine, but there are also aspects to it which are strongly divisive, as will be shown. The entrepreneur Jan Scannell is conventionally credited with proposing the idea of the braai as a heritage practice, or more specifically, as a cultural practice worthy of commemoration on Heritage Day. As I explain in more detail later, Heritage Day was one of the twelve new commemorative days that were negotiated and installed by the ANC government in 1995 as an inclusive compromise that would accommodate the wishes of Afrikaner and other political factions that entered into the first government of national unity.
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
While the braai had been marked out as significantly South African before 2005, when Scannell first introduced his proposal, his was a profoundly different kind of valourization of the braai, as it explicitly framed the practice as a tradition with a kind of heritage status that warranted the renaming of Heritage Day to National Braai Day. He insinuated that braai’ing was a cultural practice with a long history, that it was shared and that it was worthy of protection and commemoration. Scannell not only was the inventor of these extended associations but also vigorously promoted them for over a decade through public relations projects that highlighted braai’s allegedly deep South African roots, its connection to place and its nation-building significance. Through these endeavours, Scannell generated a new, shared way of speaking and interpolating the braai as heritage practice. In this chapter I use Jan Scannell’s business ventures as a case study of commensal, commercial nation-building. I argue three things. First, that Jan Scannell’s claims about braai led to taste and consumption becoming an arena in which South African heritage was negotiated. Second, I show that his projects triggered debate that raised important questions about the meaning and social significance of Heritage Day and the slate of national commemorative days in general. Finally, by advocating for the braai as heritage, his projects sparked important public debate about how and which cultural forms could be installed as heritage. I will begin by briefly situating my discussion in the literature on taste and cuisines generally, then outline a history of South African national cuisines in particular before unfolding the shifts and evolutions of Jan Scannell’s braai-oriented promotions projects and their contestation.
Taste and cuisine Loaded with associations of identity and nationhood, culinary pastimes like the braai serve up the idea of food as fostering a sense of social cohesion based on consumption and the sense of taste. As one of the proximate senses, the sense of taste forms an essential part of life, functioning, with the sense of smell, to help humans determine the edibility of foodstuffs (Korsmeyer 2007: 1). The blend of chemical reactions triggered on the tongue and in the nose through handling, smelling and chewing food all provide important information about food quality. But the identification of flavours as fit or unfit, pleasant or repulsive, is far from fixed and can change or be cultivated, therefore indicating that the perception of taste is dependent on different cultural, historical and geographical
conditions (Bell and Valentine 1997; Morgan et al. 2008; Perullo 2016). As an oral and olfactory sensibility dependent on other sensory registers, taste carries the ambivalence of being basic, natural and primary while also being open to cultivation. Taste has often been associated with memory. Proust’s tale of eating a teadipped madeleine cookie is perhaps the most well-known illustration of taste’s powers to evoke sense memories (Hamilton 2011). The anthropologist Nadia Seremetakis’s (1996: 1–3) delicious account of the search for her favourite childhood peach, which she refers to as the breast of Aphrodite, also captures how mnemonically evocative food can be. She recounts her fruitless search for her peach, as she put it, which has been rendered extinct either by neoliberal farming practices or simply through the force of nostalgia that clouds her adult perceptions of the sweet fruit she thought she once knew. In doing so, she deftly illustrates the problem of sensory experience and memory through taste by prompting her readers to wonder whether the faculty is located in the mouth or the mind. Indeed, like the other senses, but in its own peculiar way, taste masks its social construction under the guise of subjective experience, in so far as the taste of Roquefort cheese is pleasant is as cultivated as the cheese’s pungency. Lurking in these experiences of food and drink is the other connotation of taste as a faculty of aesthetic judgement or the appreciation of beauty – a notion derived from a dominant rational, Kantian mode of cultural appraisal. In this chapter I use the concept of taste to reference shared appreciation for particular kinds of food as distinct and national. Moreover, it serves as an open analytic for a sociology of mass consumption and the cultural conditions that shape the preference for and the assumed significance of particular cuisines and cooking methods. Cuisine is an exciting and important area in which to track the contested production of and cultivation of taste and its relationships to notions such as tradition and collective formation. Cuisines can be used to distinguish groups on the basis of class and, when tied to histories and identities, can also carry political import (Bourdieu 1984). Food and eating carry real political significance, and the sharing of meals carry a wide array of political connotations as Regina Bendix and Michaela Fenske (2014) illustrate in their analysis of the politics of food and shared meals in Germany and the United States. But the sharing of meals also concerns the cultivation of taste, which can also be implicated in political and moral projects. For example, in her analysis of the Slow Food Movement in Italy, the anthropologist Valeria Siniscalchi (2018) demonstrates how the organization’s benevolent aims to identify, protect and promote very local food cultures constitute an ethical and political project founded on and mediated
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
through the sense of taste. In that social movement, the collective consumption of food and wine is an occasion for savouring flavours, textures and traditions that also function to demarcate boundaries between insiders and outsiders who share what they assume to be good taste. These situations of cultivating good taste valourize tasting as a tool for political struggles over food production and security and implicate consumers in a moral economy about forms of ethical consumption. Cuisines and cooking methods like braai have become increasingly important media for staking out national sovereignty and identity using the language of heritage. For example, in 2010 UNESCO for the first time included food and culinary practices in its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage for Humanity, registering the French gastronomic meal, Gingerbread Craft from northern Croatia and traditional Mexican cuisine (Brulotte and di Giovine 2014: 1–28). It would go on to register the art of Neapolitano ‘Pizzaiuolo’, Turkish coffee culture and tradition, the Mediterranean diet and Nsima culinary tradition of Malawi, among other cuisines and culinary practices.3 The recognition of these cuisines by this high level accreditation body highlights the increasing international cultural significance of food for demarcating the nation. This development has also triggered a kind of competition among nations to solicit similar forms of recognition of their foodways, through either UNESCO or systems like the geographical index system, that legally and symbolically asserts the authenticity of cuisines and products and contributes substantially to their exclusivity and prestige value (Matta, 2016; Cang 2015; DeSoucy 2010). These kinds of designations show how the stakes become heightened when cuisine, identity and nation are addressed through the rubric of heritage. The taste of food has been referenced as a defining modality mediating and authenticating relationships between cuisine, heritage and national identity. The French notion of gout de terroir, or the taste of place, is perhaps the most well-known example of the entwined association of flavour, place and national culture. As the anthropologist Amy Trubek observes, ‘When the French take a bite of cheese or a sip of wine, they taste the earth: rock, grass, hillside, valley, plateau’ (2007: 260). In doing so, ‘They combine gustatory sensation and the evocative possibilities of taste in their fidelity to the taste of place’ (Trubek 2007: 261). Essentially a historical invention used to ground a national discourse about food, taste and land, the notion of terroir is meant to capture French identity through food and, by extension, police the economic and cultural esteem that accrues to the French gastronomic tradition.
South African national cuisines ‘National cuisines’, the historian Alison K. Smith points out, can be understood as a collection of prepared dishes created out of agricultural, trade, regional, local, family, and religious differences and traditions, and presented to a public – to introduce a nation to its own members, sometimes to introduce that nation to the outside world, and sometimes to preserve the memory of a nation in an immigrant population – through cookbooks, other media, restaurants and specific goods. (2012: 446)
The success of the inscription of the French gastronomic meal as an intangible heritage form by UNESCO in 2010, which characterized the practice as an occasion that ‘emphasizes togetherness, the pleasure of taste, and the balance between human beings and the products of nature’, inspired many nations to adopt similar approaches to ‘conserving’ their food products or cultures and assert distinct national cuisines.4 Following the French model of conserving the authenticity of products like champagne, Brie cheese and Bresse chicken through appellation d’origine contrôlée geographic indication system, rare, desirable African food and beverages like Rooibos tea and hoodia have to some extent benefited from local foresight and moves for protection (Bramley et al. 2013; Ives 2017). In Africa, Igor Cusack (2000) argues, the increasing search for national cuisines is motivated by a post-colonial drive to foster a unified sense of national identity. At the same time, these new ‘distinctive’ cuisines, produced through selection and blending of regional foodways, were encouraged and promoted by former colonial powers who were keen to sharpen distinctions between local and original metropole cuisines. Whether they sharpened or dulled ethnic and racial differences in the immediate post-colonial era, the pathways of African food products into the global arena in the modern age as distinctively national could sometimes wind down the road of economic exploitation and even expropriation. Teff, a grain used in the Ethiopian staple food injera, for example, was at the centre of a failed development aid pilot project based on more vigorous marketing of the grain in developed nations, where patents to the grain and its various related products like injera were surreptitiously ceded to affiliated entrepreneurs (Andersen and Winge 2012). These examples indicate that the designation of the cultural distinctiveness of African cuisines and ingredients could be related to the assertion of colonial influence for purposes of establishing perhaps problematic forms of national distinction and difference,
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
and that in the modern age they flowed through dominant systems of grading and classification that also made them susceptible to economic exploitation. South African national cuisines have a similar yet distinct history, one that was also related to political power and dominance of white English and Afrikaans political state regimes, and with modern, geographic designations only being stridently employed in the post-apartheid era for the protection of ingredients and products. The historian Sarah Emily Duff (2012) has shown how one popular South African cuisine, known as boerekos, emerged in conjunction with prevailing political ideology in the middle of the twentieth century. Her study focusses on the circulation of the cookbook Kook en Geniet (Cook and Enjoy It) in English. First published in 1951 by Ina De Villiers, the book was a collection of recipes from the cooking tradition of boerekos, or farm food, which is assumed to have Dutch historical roots and is commonly associated with Afrikaner homeliness. Going into circulation three years after the rise of the apartheid government, the popular collection of recipes contributed to a sense of Afrikaner cultural distinctiveness through the idiom of boerekos at a time when Afrikaner cultural identity and racial distinctions were being strongly asserted and policed by the state. Texts that contributed to the popularization of boerekos framed it ‘as an unchanging cuisine … a form of cooking which has remained reassuringly the same during a century of tumultuous change’ (Duff 2012: np). Duff points out two further notable features about boerekos and the Cook and Enjoy cookbook. First, she highlights that boerekos was ‘invented’ or ‘socially constructed’ from the early to the mid-twentieth century, emerging roughly in tune with the rise of Afrikaner nationalism. She foregrounds the influential role played by the polymath and nationalist C. Louis Leipoldt, who recorded recipes that were claimed as an archive of the foodways of the Afrikaner kitchen, despite his insistence that ‘the earliest authorities behind original South African dishes came from the “Cape Malay” population of the Western Cape’ (Oppelt 2012: 51). Cape Muslim cooking, which has historically been misconstrued and culturally refashioned by apartheid ideologues, is often referred to as Cape Malay cooking, a notion that ascribes a problematic diasporic identity to a segment of the Cape Muslim community (see Jeppie 1987). Boerekos was therefore thoroughly suffused with spices, flavours and cooking methods associated with Cape Muslim cooking. This mirage of culinary uniqueness masking deeper cultural and historical hybridity echoes Alison K. Smith’s observation that national cuisines are ‘built … out of the history of given nations, with all the complications such a construction implies’ (2012: 446). Attempts to frame the cultural purity of boerekos therefore concealed cultural mixtures and borrowings that were a
feature of all South African cuisines and which cast doubt on its status as being pure and authentic. Since going into circulation, Cook and Enjoy has been revised and updated numerous times. While the text was meant to reflect a fixed and unchanging culinary tradition, its continuous revisions reflect the changing nature of an ‘essential’ South African cuisine as it adapted and changed with prevailing preferences and social, political and economic conditions. Counter-intuitively then, this case shows that national cuisines are ‘not static, but can be transformed without necessarily losing their essential national character’ (Smith 2012: 446). Overall this example of the invention of South African cookery highlights how cuisine has been a space where racial, cultural and national distinctiveness have been exchanged and worked out for more than half a century. Moreover, by indexing notions of tradition, identity and consumption, cuisine drew heritage into the realm of taste.
Braai Day It is against this background of the interlaced history of South African cuisines and national identities that braai emerges as a cooking method and cuisine with unifying cultural significance. Braai, as Paul Nugent points out, was identified as a unifying, nation-building cooking method. During apartheid braai was actually hailed as the leisure pastime of whites, both English and Afrikaans and related to conquest and the celebration of the ‘wild, untamed outdoors’. Post apartheid, the discourse around the braai would shift to encompass the nation broadly construed. For example, an article published in 1997, titled ‘Braai; It’s a Guy Thing’, claimed that ‘South Africa’s diversity of cultures and tastes are reflected on the braai’.5 Mobilizing the inclusive language of the nation, the authors also asserted braai to be an exclusively masculine pastime (Vasu 2016). In the following year the cookbook Best South African Braai Recipes was published in collaboration with the South African Meat Board, and sold over 100,000 copies.6 While cookbooks have represented South Africa, braai and the outdoors as interlinked since the early 1980s (see Snyman 1983), the increase in number of braai-themed cookbooks published during the postapartheid period, especially since the 2000s, certainly contributed to stoking the popular idea of the pastime as common and national. In 2002 the journalist Steven Savides remarked that ‘braai united South Africans’, while a few years later the food writer Fran Osseo-Asare stated that ‘braai has fostered a sense of
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
national identity in southern Africa’ (2005: 82).7 These may seem to be passing remarks, but they show that the idea of braai as a unifying and nation-building South African cooking pastime had already caught on and began circulating in different media formats commonly associated with the production of national cuisines during the first decade after democracy. In 2005 the accountant and entrepreneur Jan Scannell first publically proposed the idea of renaming Heritage Day, traditionally celebrated on 24 September, as ‘Braai Day’. He was originally inspired not by food, but by the galvanizing camaraderie generated during the 2004 edition of the Cape Argus Cycle tour, billed as the world’s largest timed cycle race. Advocating for the sociality of the communal consumption of grilled food, in his estimation, renaming Heritage Day Braai Day, and getting South Africans to braai on this day, could launch a similar, popular, unifying event. Heritage Day as Braai Day, braai as heritage, these were the first sparks of an idea Scannell thought up after a few drinks with friends over a braai. In 2005 he initiated his first public awareness campaign for Braai Day, saying, ‘It started in 2005, now this was before Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp [social media platforms], so, the first year [communicating the idea] was like sending an SMS, a text message, and asking people to please forward this message to other people asking them to braai.’8 At the time, the idea did not catch on. In 2006 Scannell modified the chain letter communications format, this time crafting an email rather than an SMS that asked South Africans to braai and then forward the good news along on to friends and family. Despite remodelling his communications strategy, the idea again failed to catch on. The project of renaming Heritage Day was still undercooked. Believing in the potential of his idea, Scannell persisted. He declined an offer to take up a position in a Manhattan accounting firm, quit his job and dedicated a year to building the Braai Day project. ‘I spent everyday for a year just on getting this thing now properly kickstarted’, he explained.9 Taking the project seriously, he embarked on a drastic re-education: ‘I had to start reading marketing books, PR Books, I didn’t even know what PR companies did at the time.’10 It also meant learning to master the art of visual communication, like hiring photographers to make ‘cool photos of fires’.11 Above all, it meant acquiring knowledge of cookery and taste: ‘I had to start to take cooking courses because people would ask me how do you really braai a steak, and I know how I braai a steak, but then you’re on national radio, and then you want to give you [know] a proper answer that is theoretically correct.’12 Growing in knowledge about proper cooking and public relations meant learning about the sensuousness associated with the photos, flavour and fire of the Braai Day enterprise.
As Scannell framed it, the planning, research and education finally paid off in 2007, when the Braai Day project first seriously gained some traction. That year Jan Scannell was able to secure the endorsement of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and through him generate significant, national and international public interest in the idea of Braai Day. As Scannell explained, ‘The first major success for me was getting archbishop Desmond Tutu involved as the patron. I needed a high profile face because at the time Braai Day wasn’t anything well known.’13 On 5 September 2007 Scannell hosted a braai-side press conference to introduce Tutu as the patron of Braai Day.14 Dressed in a white apron emblazoned with the orange flame of the then Braai Day logo, the archbishop expressed enthusiastic support for the project, saying, ‘It’s a fantastic thing, a very simple idea. Irrespective of your politics, of your culture, of your race, of your whatever, hierdie ding doen ons saam [this thing we do together] … just South Africans doing one thing together, and recognising that we are a fantastic nation.’15 If in 2005 and 2006 the Braai Day notion failed to generate any heat, in 2007 Desmond Tutu helped set the project aflame: ‘In 2007 when Facebook went public and Archbishop Tutu got involved as a patron I’d say that’s the year where it exploded’, Scannell observed.16 Braai Day’s explosion as a popular idea could therefore be correlated with shifts in popular electronic media and the star power radiated by a globally recognized activist of peace and reconciliation like Tutu. By 24 September 2007, the idea of Braai Day, once just a smoky fireside idea, had flared up into a sensational media story. What is also clear is that Braai Day was explicitly crafted as a public relations project that promoted braai as a common, popular pastime worthy of recognition because of the value of the sociality it generated around consumption. But Braai Day was about more than the celebration of the sociality of consumption. It was about heritage. As Scannell put it, ‘Countries with strong social cohesion become strong nations. … This is why it is important to celebrate our common national heritage through truly South African features. And what is more South African than shisa nyama? [braaing].’17 In this way, Scannell asserted that to celebrate one’s heritage and build the nation meant one had to braai and consume. After 2007 these associations between sociality, braai, Heritage Day and consumption were reinforced by retailers who independently began the active promotion of braai-related products in the lead up to Heritage Day. Meat, wood and alcohol were among the many products retailers marketed as being essential for celebrating Braai Day. For example, Castle Lager, a beer in the stable of SABMiller enlisted a leading advertising agency to develop and launch a nationwide advertising competition focused on ‘beers, boys and braai’.18 Significantly,
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
SAB-Miller had a history of promoting Castle Lager that explicitly used heritage as a motif for framing the brand and tying it into patriotic masculine nationalist events and pastimes (see Mager 2005, 2006, 2010). Castle Lager would later come on board as a major direct sponsor of the Braai Day venture in 2014, with Jan Scannell saying, ‘Castle Lager probably is our biggest new partner. There is obviously a very natural brand alignment here and they will be launching a massive campaign in September, rallying the troops to braai on Braai Day.’19 To indicate the international resonance of the invention of commercial commemorative days, one can read SAB-Miller’s masculine brand participation in the Braai Day project against liquor company Diageo’s (SAB-Miller’s then rival multinational alcohol producer) successful invention and marketing of Arthurs Day in Ireland. To mark the celebration of 250 years of brewing Guinness Beer, the Guinness company hosted music events on 22 September at multiple local and international venues. As part of the celebrations, Guinness invited patrons to pause at 17.59, which corresponded to the first year Guinness was brewed in Dublin, and toast by saying, ‘to Arthur’, the founder of the Guinness Brewery. The marketing ploy was a success and was celebrated as a new kind of St Patrick’s Day, with Guinness sponsoring the music for the celebrations until it was discontinued in Ireland due to public outcry about the pressure on public health facilities as a result of the dramatic increase in alcohol consumption on the day (Brown 2016: 91).
National commemorative days The historian John Gillis has observed that ‘commemorative activity is by definition social and political for it involves the coordination of individual and group memories, whose results may appear to be consensual’ (1994: 5). A synchronized set of recollections displaying the facade of common agreement, commemorations, he goes on to say, are, however, rather more complex. As the ritual and real material loci of purposeful social recollection, commemorations ‘are in fact the product of intense contest, struggle, and, in some cases, annihilation’ (Gillis 1994: 5). The ‘coordination’ of ‘individual and group memories’ therefore conceals ‘contestation, struggle and annihilation’ to generate consensual commemorations (Gillis 1994: 5). Arguably, the attempted rebranding of Heritage Day was a playful appropriation of an established official practice of reframing commemorative days. The ANC government installed Heritage Day as one of South Africa’s twelve official public holidays with the Public Holidays Act 36 of 1994. By establishing a new set of public holidays, the ANC government wished to mobilize a new democratic and
unifying programme of commemorative events. National holidays are socially significant, the South African memory studies scholar Sabine Marschall argues, because they are ‘meant to forge collective memory and promote symbolic values that foster a sense of identification with the new nation’ (2013: 11). While the ANC retained Christian religious holidays such as Christmas and Easter, its new public holidays explicitly signalled the commemoration of key events in ‘South Africa’s national history of resistance and reconciliation’ (Rassool 2012: 1). New national holidays like Freedom Day (27 April), Workers Day (1 May), Youth Day (16 June), Women’s Day (9 August) and Human Rights Day (21 March) explicitly commemorated free elections, labour histories, landmark acts of resistance and memorializing apartheid state atrocities respectively. These new sacred days of rest and recollection were therefore ‘marshalled in the service of building a post-apartheid South African nation and citizenship’ (Rassool 2012: 1). The list of new public holidays also included two days that affirmed the reconciliatory values of the democratic state. Reconciliation Day on 16 December and Heritage Day on 24 September appeared in the apartheid era calendar of national public holidays, respectively, as the Day of the Vow which commemorated an Afrikaner history of the Battle of Blood River, and Shaka Day, which recalled the significance of the Zulu warrior chief Shaka. Indexing different cultural histories, these apartheid public holidays were retained, incorporated and re-inscribed as inclusive, unifying national commemorative days. As the historian Ciraj Rassool explains, ‘The new commemorative days of the new democracy were a product of the ANC’s reconciliation with the apartheid regime as well as its surrogate, [the Zulunationalist] Inkatha [Freedom Party]’ (2012: 11). Shaka Day, as it was known in KwaZulu-Natal, was rebranded and included at the insistence of the Inkatha Freedom Party, who complained after the new set of commemorative days were promulgated that it failed to include a day that also recognized Zulu history. As such, ‘24 September was redeployed as the new South Africa’s Heritage Day, now held to commemorate South Africa’s “diverse cultures”’ (Rassool 2012: 11). What kind of commemorative day did Scannell imagine Braai Day to be? ‘Something like St Patricks Day, Thanksgiving, Kings Day in the Netherlands, Australia Day. Those were really the places where we went shopping for ideas and tips,’ he said.20 Explaining his reasoning, Scannell said that South Africa’s existing set of public holidays appeared to be exclusionary because of their religious or political significance, saying, ‘Our political and religious holidays exclude certain people.’21 For him, national unity would not be cultivated through politics or religion. These implicit exclusions spurred him to think about advocating for ‘a day of celebration’ similar to the nationalist celebratory commemorative days
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
observed in other parts of the world.22 Heritage Day presented an opportunity to transcend the religious or bitter political connotations that stuck to the existing set of public holidays. This was because ‘Heritage Day doesn’t have any baggage. You’re not going to irritate some person or another who has religious issues.’23 Braai was an ideal pastime through which to reconceive Heritage Day because it ‘reaches beyond culture, beyond language, beyond politics, beyond religion’.24 Jan Scannell also emphasized that the attempt to reconstitute Heritage Day as Braai Day was not so much about the past, as about establishing a collective heritage for the future. Getting South Africans to gather around fires to cook and consume food products in a social setting was about ‘establishing a collective heritage for South Africa’.25 Put another way, Braai Day ‘will allow us to get together, burn the past and cook up a succulent future’.26 In the apartheid past the braai had accumulated a series of negative associations, such as the idea that it provided distracting solace for white South Africans, that it embodied the brutality of black on black political violence and the pure evil of the apartheid police apparatus. For example, for whites during the 1970s braai became an idiom for wealth and leisure culture, captured and made popular in an automobile advertisement, which aired widely on South African radio. ‘We love braaivleis, rugby, sunny skies and Chevrolet,’ went the lyrics to the jingle. ‘Braaivleis’, or braai meat, ‘is no mere barbecue’, the writer Riaan Malan observed (1990: 107). ‘[Braai] is a profound cultural ritual, recalling the days when the Afrikaners rode the empty plains on horseback and brought down buck with a single shot. They built a fire and roasted the meat right there, in the open, beneath the sunlit blue heavens, celebrated in the opening lines of our national anthem’ (Malan 1990: 107). The advertisement tapped into these deep historical associations and also referenced the distracting power of braai as a white leisure pastime during the 1970s. The South African photographers Greg Marinovich and Joao Silva remarked that ‘this ditty perfectly captured the confidence of South Africa’s whites, snug in the paradise that they had created for themselves, despite the international sanctions campaign’ (2001: 6). The idea of braai as an exclusive, distracting luxury enterprise reserved for a small segment of South African society was vividly illustrated in an account of the practice appearing in The New York Times during the height of political unrest during the 1980s: Smoke curled up from the white-hot charcoal fire grilling plump chickens and sausages lathered in red barbeque sauce. A clump of white men and women in their 20s warmed their hands over the grill. By the small pool, another cluster of
guests talked excitedly about dipping real-estate prices. Here, and at many other braais, or cookouts, in the white suburbs of Johannesburg, there are no signs that South Africa is a country in a state of emergency, that heavily armed police officers in steel-plated vehicles roam black townships a 12-minute drive away.27
Alternately, for some black South Africans, the braai became a grim euphemism for the public exposure and execution of suspected apartheid government collaborators and informants by ‘necklacing’, or placing a gasoline filled tyre around the neck of a person suspected of being a collaborator and igniting it. This warped ‘symbol of liberation’ was referred to as shisanyama or ‘burnt meat’, and also called ‘Nando’s’, after a popular flame grilled chicken franchise (Marinovich and Silva 2001: 49). The braai would also be connected to inhuman apartheid police violence, as revealed in the TRC hearings. One of the more unsettling pieces of testimony delivered during the hearings came from the security branch operative Dirk Coetzee, who confessed to participating in the kidnapping, torture and murder of the ANC activist Sizwe Kondile. Coetzee explained to the commissioners how he and other operatives braai’d, drank and ate alongside a bonfire upon which they incinerated Kondile’s body.28 Kondile’s disposal raised nauseating olfactory registers that highlighted the perversity of state-sponsored violence. Charity Kondile, Sizwe’s mother lamented how, Coetzee remarked that twice during the night of her son’s incineration ‘the meat was smelling good’ (cited in Feldman 2002: 243). Unfortunately, Kondile was merely one of many victims of what the media and culture studies scholar Allen Feldman has described as ‘braai torture’ (2015: 271). Allen shows the frequency with which the braai appears in TRC testimony regarding state-sponsored gross human rights violations, as a reference to literal acts of consumption that took place during the torture and interrogation of political prisoners like Kondile, but also the disposal and concealment of those acts of violence. During apartheid, the braai structured the perverse parrallel between the fiery consumption of black bodies in practises of state sponsored violence that were also occassions of recreational commensality arranged around the pleasurable consumption of grilled meat and alcohol (see also Rousseau 2009). A common leisure practice enjoyed by families across South Africa during the late apartheid period, the braai also became a cultural symbol that triggered difficult and painful associations related to the volatility of the prevailing political situation during apartheid. The braai therefore had a history that was political, racialized and often decidedly unsavoury.
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
Commercial circulations In the lead up to Heritage Day retailers profiled their marketing projects and participation in the Braai Day project hype as patriotic. The Shoprite Group, a leading supermarket retailer, issued a statement saying, ‘As a South Africanbased company, we support this uniquely South African initiative. Braai Day serves as an opportunity for us to showcase our specialty meat offer and to this end we have an extensive promotional offer involving print and TV advertising around Heritage Day.’29 Assisting with this patriotism for profit, the leading South African retail magazine, Supermarket and Retailer, advised retailers that Braai Day was a potential new sales peak in the calendar, similar to Christmas and Easter, and provided retailers with guidelines on display strategies and marketing promotions that could assist with making the most of the day and of the braai.30 Among the many promotions developed to stimulate consumer patriotism, the supermarket chain Pick n Pay sponsored the cooking show Ultimate Braai master, which used the advertising slogan, ‘To Braai Like a Master, You Need to Buy Like a Master’ (Figure 5.1). Retailers registered the effects of the increase in
Figure 5.1 Screenshot, Pick n Pay Ultimate Braai Master reality television show advertisement, accessed 22 September 2014.
braai interest at their points of sale. ‘The biggest push in sales can obviously be observed in meat and condiments,’ remarked a purchasing manager for retailer, Spar in Gauteng, while there was a significant increase in the purchasing of meat and meat-related products across the province.31 What these campaigns and promotions show is that the Braai Day message had so effectively blurred the distinction between commemorations and consumption that corporate entities could ride a brand message that appeared to be patriotic and altruistic to market and sell products. Mobilized independently of, but in parallel with, Jan Scannell’s Braai Day project, these nation-wide retail-driven advertising campaigns further popularized associations between braai and heritage, and the assertion of braai’ing and braai food as South African. But what indeed was distinctly South African about braai? Why was it in any way distinct from other traditions of open fire cooking? Indeed, grilling can be seen as a ritual of consumption nations partook in on important commemorative days around the world. For example, barbecue has been described as ‘America’s first food’ (Warnes 2008) and ‘an American institution’ (Moss 2010) that was enthusiastically observed on Independence Day, on the 4th of July. Grill smoke also envelops Israeli Independence Day celebrations. Nir Avieli argues, for example, that barbecuing meat is ‘the main activity for most Israeli Jews celebrating the nation on Independence Day’, becoming so central to annual festivities that it ‘has come to be known as “BBQ Day”’ (2013: 301; 302). ‘Continually nominated as a national dish of Australia’ (Santich 2013: 13) the barbecue is held in high esteem and is widely observed on Australia Day when lamb is grilled as the preferred meat (Santich 2012: 151). Braai was distinctly different, at least according to Desmond Tutu and Jan Scannell. Enthusing about the Braai Day project in 2007, Archbishop Desmond Tutu provided a well thought through argument about the cultural significance of braai as a distinctly South African cooking method. First, the word braai had a lexical distinctiveness as a singular term that cut across poly-lingual differences: ‘We have, what, 11 official languages but only one word for this wonderful institution: its braai. It’s braai in Xhosa, it’s braai in Afrikaans, its braai in English, its braai in whatever.’32 Significantly, the word braai is itself very young, with one of the first dictionary entries of the word braai, which derives from the Dutch word braden, appearing in H. J. J. van der Merwe’s 1902 Patriot Dictionary, where it is defined as referring ‘to roast, fry’ (29). Second, Archbishop Tutu argued that the braai staged a small-scale sociality that had nation-wide unifying potential, saying, ‘It has fantastic potential to bind us together, because all it calls for is to come with your friends, your family, have
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
a little fire and braai.’33 Elaborating on the essence of braai’s socially binding potential, Tutu said, ‘We’ve shown the world a few things. Let’s show them that ordinary activities like eating can unite people of different races, religions, sexes … short people, tall people, fat people, lean people.’34 In these terms, braai had the potential to unite all of humanity. Finally, Tutu asserted that because of its distinctiveness as a linguistic and a cultural form with real nation-building potential, braai’ing was essentially an unrecognized patriotic activity: ‘Don’t do anything else [just braai]. I mean, that should make you proudly South African.’35 Braai was thus a linguistic unifier, a nation-building social occasion and a pride inducing patriotic ritual activity. In summary, then, ‘This Braai Day initiative reflects the spirit of South Africans and embodies the unique methods we employ as a nation to promote democracy, patriotism and national pride.’36 Promoting braai as advancing democracy, inspiring patriotism and pride, Archbishop Desmond Tutu again affirmed that consumption be the focus of Heritage Day’s commemorative activity. Working through Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s reasoning shows that his contribution to the Braai Day campaign was a reasoned promotion of the braai as being more than an ordinary culinary pastime. He argued that it held the status of an important cultural institution and helped persuade the public that braai was a distinctly South African culinary practice. For his part, Scannell elaborated on these ideas in articulating the South African distinctiveness of the braai from other open fire cooking methods such as the barbecue. First, Jan Scannell argued that braai was a specific kind of cooking method different from those practised in other parts of the world: a braai was an open fire cooking method where foodstuffs were grilled over the heat of open coals – usually but not always, as a leisurely past time – produced by the burning of wood. Simply put, ‘Nothing beats a real wood fire’ (Scannell 2014: np). Second, he argued that braai had a distinct palaeontological history that showed South Africa was the global place of origin for this type of cooking. Scannell specifically referenced archaeological research that showed some of the first controlled fires had been lit over 160,000 years ago in caves in South Africa, and moreover had been used for the cooking of meat. This was revealed to Scannell when he toured the Swartkrans cave, situated in the small region known as the ‘Cradle of Human Kind’, one of South Africa’s eight UNESCO world heritage sites, with renowned scientist C.K. Brain who first made this discovery. In an article published in the esteemed scientific journal Nature, Brain
observed that here was the place where ‘the earliest direct evidence for use of fire by hominids in the fossil record’ (Brain and Sillent 1988). Based on this evidence Scannell boldly claimed that open fire cooking was an essential element not just for South African sociality but rather also for global human development. Brain and other authors like primatologist Richard Wrangham (2009) argued that cooking marked hominids’ shift from prey to top predator, and enabled them to develop larger brains than their apelike contemporaries. ‘Scientifically speaking’, Jan Scannell therefore playfully claimed, ‘South Africans are not only the best braaiers in the world, but braai’ing also originated here’ (Scannell 2014: 15). As a practice that allegedly originated in southern African caves and spread to the world, braaing was therefore South Africa’s greatest export, Jan Scannell contended. The open fire cooking method practised today had a heritage that could accurately be located, he claimed, and was itself worthy of celebrating. To have a Braai Day, then, was also to celebrate this part of ‘South Africa’s heritage’ (Scannell 2014: 15). Marking the beginning of the spring season in the Southern Hemisphere, 24 September, or Heritage Day, presented the ideal weather conditions for braai sociality. Staking out the terms of the celebration and the importance of the date, Scannell asserted, however, that Braai Day would not be one citywide or nation-wide party as in the case of Carnival in Rio, or Kings Day in the Netherlands. It was not about ‘one big event’ but rather ‘forty six million little events’, in reference South Africa’s population number.37 He was therefore not interested in hosting any mass braais at South Africa’s iconic sports stadiums: ‘We are not planning any big get together braai, at the Green Point Stadium or Loftus Versfeld, or FNB Soccer City.’38 Rather, by emphasizing the small-scale focus of the project, Scannell wanted to get across the idea that Braai Day was not just another marketing gimmick: ‘A real braai is something you do with your family and friends.’39 Big events like concerts, carnivals and sports matches were void of meaning, he argued. They did not foster lasting social bonds. For Scannell, the nation-building power of braai smouldered in the basic social unit of the family and the friendship circle: ‘We are saying light a fire and braai with your family and friends.’40 Braai Day was about celebrating the pastime of common South Africans and the sociality ignited in small-scale settings in the hope that recognition of this unifying practice would spread and unite the nation. While well intended and endorsed by a recognized nation-building luminary, the Braai Day Initiative nevertheless drew heated criticism from different sectors
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
of society. For example, some critics found the emphasis placed on meat and meat eating on Braai Day unpalatable. Catherine Molyneux, representing an organization called United for Animals, put forward an elaborate argument that Braai Day violated animals: ‘Millions of farm animals in South Africa have died to satisfy the celebration of a primitive ritual – cooking a once-living, sentient being over an open fire – often rotated over the flames on a steel bar shoved through its anus and emerging through its mouth.’41 Braai Day was a ‘vacuous and vicious’ event that ‘perpetuates the cycle of violence’ prevalent in South Africa.42 The braai, she suggested in closing, ‘is a “cultural” ritual that should be dumped in history’s dustbin, where slavery and apartheid and other obscenities had been buried’.43 The main, and most widely publicized criticism was that the initiative reduced Heritage Day to acts of consumption that distracted from the apparently real, original, state-sanctioned intention of having South Africans celebrate their diverse cultures on 24 September. This was the National Heritage Council’s criticism, who, while at first embracing the idea of celebrating braai, later rejected the message after it became popular. As the spokesperson for the National Heritage Council put it, the council rejected the Braai Day concept because, with the emphasis focused on consumption, it could ‘have a negative outcome on the consciousness of South Africans, especially the young who need to be made aware of the value of their heritage in relation to other cultures as we build a unified nation’.44 This criticism boiled down to the idea that Heritage Day was under threat of being enveloped in the commercial, leisurely smoke and frivolity of Braai Day. As the former ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga put it, ‘The government is trying to give people the space to define for themselves who they are. … It will … be a sad day if braaing … becomes more important than celebrating our heritage.’45 Cutting across this concern about consumerist reductionism was a fear about the loss of cultural memory, in so far as ‘valid’, ‘significant’ cultural pastimes were being eroded by the superficial consumption that Braai Day appeared to promote. Debates about valid cultural significance as opposed to commercial reductionism would be revived year after year as various critics cast their opinions about braai and heritage in different mainstream media platforms. While intended to unify South Africans around a pleasant cultural pastime, the Braai Day proposition sparked polarizing debate that triggered different groups to stake claims about braai’s significance for representing common South African culture and the essence of its socially binding powers.46 More specifically it sparked a public discussion about the meaning and appropriate ways to celebrate Heritage Day.
Braai4Heritage A consequence of the criticism brought to bear in 2007 by the National Heritage Council was that Jan Scannell was asked to change the Braai Day concept in 2008 to Braai4Heritage. As spokesperson for the National Heritage Council, Danny Goulkin explained, ‘We agreed that they are not going to call it Braai Day. They are going to rally the people of South Africa to say “let’s braai for heritage”.’47 Moving away from an attempt to officially rename Heritage Day to promote braai as a cultural tradition, Jan Scannell’s new project slogan attended to this criticism by shifting emphasis from heritage as consumption to consumption for heritage. Significantly, retailers also recognized the divisive sentiments stoked by the idea of Braai Day and in subsequent years dropped explicit reference to the unofficial pastime of Braai Day in advertising and promotions campaigns leading into Heritage Day while continuing to offer braai-related bargains. While the renaming of Heritage Day was seen as unpalatable, retailers and Jan Scannell recognized the zeitgeist around the public’s association of heritage and braai. Desmond Tutu reaffirmed his support for the initiative following the change in brand profile, re-emphasizing the significance of braai and the relationship between heritage and consumption, publically repeating the idea that ‘here is one thing that can unite us despite all the things that are trying to tear us apart’.48 When asked about whether vegetarians were excluded from participating, he defended braai as wholly inclusive, saying, ‘We must encourage them to eat mielies [maize].’49 For Desmond Tutu, braai could unite South Africans whether they ate meat or not. In saying this, he again suggested that it was the social act of consumption that was most important. Vegetarians could be accommodated broadly in the social and sensuous atmosphere created by the occasion: ‘Eat more meat, enjoy each other’s company, amid laughter, peace and harmony. With the aroma of braai in the air … ah nothing could be more comforting.’50 But braai meat meant so much more to Tutu than a delicious grill staple. It could symbolize a Pan-African sociability established around the South African braai fire. As he explained, ‘I like T-bone steaks because they are in the shape of Africa’ (Scannell 2014: 34). Signalling a kind of Pan-African unity, an African shaped T-Bone steak was adopted as the Braai4Heritage logo in 2008.51 This suggested that through the braai’ing and consuming meat products like the T-Bone steak, South Africans could be united in a kind of Pan-African pastime. Jan Scannell used the media attention generated by Desmond Tutu’s endorsement to energize his Braai4Heritage campaign. Consolidating his personal transition to being the face of the braai, in 2009, Scannell coined
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
and adopted the Twitter handle, Jan Braai, so as to assert a brand presence in social media space online. Explaining his choice of nom-de-braai, he said, ‘Jan Scannell was just a little aloof. And I made it Jan Braai. It was no intention that it would become my name. But now it is.’52 Embracing this Twitter handle meant taking on a new identity, one that, in his estimation, consolidated the public’s association of him with braai and heritage in South Africa. The Jan Braai persona served a number of related functions. It helped fix the connection between Jan Scannell and the Braai4Heritage project in the mediascape. It also presented a celebrity figure who could lend significance to the idea of braai’ing and the Braai Day project. As he explained, ‘Ten years ago there was no Jan Braai, there was no celebrity to interview to give gravitas to what we’re saying. So there was no David Beckham to invite to the Press Releases.’53 Comparing himself to an internationally recognized football icon, Jan Scannell emphasized his South African celebrity status as Jan Braai. Conferring celebrity status, this media persona, in some senses, brought closure to Jan Scannell’s identity as the Braai Day ambassador: ‘It makes it easy when your name is the same as you know, your public persona and your name is the same, and you don’t get an identity crisis. Ja, but I am not a fictional character.’54 If he was not a fictional character, then who was the real Jan Scannell, the man behind Jan Braai? Born in the early 1980s, Scannell was raised in the affluent Afrikaans town of Stellenbosch in the Cape Winelands.55 An avid cyclist, Scannell studied towards an accounting degree as an undergraduate, qualifying as a chartered accountant. He was awarded a master’s in Business Administration by the University of Cape Town in 2008.56 Scannell worked as an auditor with the accounting firm PriceWaterHouse Coopers before taking up the Braai Day project full time. His father Jan Scannell senior was a luminary in the South African alcohol industry. Scannell senior began working for the Distillers Corporation in 1979, a cooperative producing wines and spirits such as Klipdrift Brandy, a popular local spirit associated with braai. He was appointed managing director of the Distillers Corporation in 1994, and in 2001, successfully oversaw the merger with their main domestic rival, Stellenbosch Farmers, to establish the Distell Group, one of the largest alcohol conglomerates in South Africa. After an almost twenty-year period that saw the Distell Group grow its stake in the domestic market and expand its international footprint, Scannell senior retired in 2013.57 Growing up in a household run by a leading business figure could only have benefited Jan Scannell Jr. He could directly or indirectly also benefit from his Distell’s advertising and sponsorship resources. What I would like to point out is that, in adopting the identity of Jan Braai, Scannell wanted
to signal an everyman brand persona to promote the culinary tradition of the common South African. Yet his personal biography, as a white Afrikaner male from a wealthy background marked him out as highly privileged and elite. Amid calls for transformation in a country of widespread racialized inequality, it was ironic that an individual like Jan Scannell could identify and highlight what was common South African heritage and advocate for its recognition and celebration as a kind of everyday celebrity.
Braai Day Initiative (Figure 5.2) By 2012, Jan Scannell claimed that market research that he had commissioned showed the significant growth in awareness of Braai Day, saying, ‘33% of all South Africans above the age of 18 years actively celebrate Braai Day on 24 September every year by having a braai.’58 In an effort to make the most of this interest Scannell adapted the original Braai Day concept. Sometime in 2011 already, Scannell shifted the project branding from Braai4Heritage to refer to the Braai Day Initiative and, building on the essence of the project, used political satire as a marketing promotions strategy. This was the year that a new Braai Day logo was released. It depicted yellow flames taking the form of the corna hand
Figure 5.2 Screenshot, Woolworths Heritage Day braai advertisement, 23 September 2013.
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
gesture surrounded by the red, green, blue and black, indeed, the colours of the South African flag, with Braai Day written in white letters underneath. The branding on the website, Braai.com, the official Braai Day website also changed, and now featured a revolutionary fist clutching a pair of braai tongs, with the slogan, ‘Join the Revolution to Unite 50 Million People’ in fiery yellows and reds splashed in the background. The new branding suggested that the Braai Day Initiative was an important new social movement. The Braai Day Initiative ‘aims to position National Heritage Day as South Africa’s annual day of celebration’.59 The Braai Day Initiative had a specific appeal for South Africans: ‘We call on all South Africans to unite around fires, share our heritage and wave our flag on 24 September every year.’60 The Braai Day Initiative was ‘a noble cause’ that would ‘contribute to strengthening South Africa as a nation through this act of nationbuilding and social cohesion’.61 Scannell performed a number of braai-related publicity stunts that played up the recognition and celebration of his project. It is important to reflect on some of these to understand how many of the promotions of braai as heritage also profiled him as an authority on the braai. His first series of promotions campaigns tried to further reinforce the primary cluster of associations, of masculinity, outdoorsmanship, discovery, travel and cultural and historical education, with which braai had already been known. For example, before the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Scannell made the audacious move to secure the Guinness World Record for the Longest Braai. Setting up his braai stand under the watchful eye of Guinness World Record monitors in the popular V&A Waterfront, in Cape Town, Scannell proceeded to braai for nearly twenty-eight hours and thirty minutes to claim the then world record for the longest braai. In press interviews held afterward, Scannell claimed that the record was a selfless, herculean feat undertaken for the South African nation. Eclipsing the previous record set by a German national, he said he ‘felt fantastic’ that he had brought the record home to South Africa, ‘where it belongs’.62 Braai’ing for the Guinness World Record meant bringing home the idea of braai as truly South African.63 The following year, in the lead up to Heritage Day in 2011, Jan Scannell collaborated with some of South Africa’s leading musicians, such as the popular Afrikaans rock band Heuwels, rapper HHP and the Soweto Gospel Choir, and released the ‘Braai Day anthem’.64 Made available as a free download exclusively on Scannell’s website Braai.com, the track featured rhymes and lyrics that emphasized the heartwarming, unifying, national sociality created by braai.65 Stepping out of the recording studio and heading out on the open road, Jan Scannell went on the Braai Day warm up tour in 2012. In that year, over nine
days Scannell braai’d in each of South Africa’s nine provinces. Departing from the legislative capital, Pretoria and criss-crossing the country, he shared firecooked feasts with a variety of groups and communities that he documented on his website (Figure 5.3). Upon concluding that year’s tour in a township nightspot in Cape Town, Scannell hoped to show that ‘everybody in South Africa loves to braai’.66 The theme of travelling to significant cultural, natural or historical places in South Africa would be further developed in the lifestyle television show he put together for the Afrikaans television channel Kyknet, Jan Braai vir Erfinis (Jan Braai’s for Heritage). In this show Scannell would travel to some of South
Figure 5.3 Jan Scannell in Namibia. This image, coded with tropes of colonial discovery and indigenous primitivism, appears uncaptioned in his cookbook Red Hot. Courtesy of Bookstorm.
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
Africa’s major heritage sites, learn more about them and sometimes braai there. At times he would advocate for the heritage significance of places and sites that had not yet officially been accorded that status, by, for example, braai’ing on the spot where the rugby player Joel Stransky took the spot kick that won South Africa the 1995, Rugby World Cup, a significant, widely remembered postapartheid sporting memory. Through braai’ing for a world record and travelling to official and unofficial heritage sites and sites of popular memory, Scannell consciously attempted to associate braai with a particular type of South African masculinity, associated with strength, skill, intelligence and a love of the great outdoors, a masculinity that became fused with his media persona. Through developing a feel good, popular song, braai was also crafted as being for and about every South Africa and was meant to create a greater feel good association. But it is also clear that more than just promoting himself and his projects, he was also playing with the terms through which heritage was articulated, by braai’ing at commemorative sites, ‘commemorating new’ heritage sites and reinterpreting commemorative days. In 2013, he would continue this tradition of appropriating heritage language for a braai promotion of his own. The #Braaidaytown campaign involved Scannell renaming towns and cities according to braai relevant names, and inviting the public to participate by tagging their suggestions with the Twitter hashtag, #Braaidaytowns: ‘Names of places need to change to keep in tune with the changing times,’ he boldly declared. ‘And this week the names of towns need to change to get ready for Braai Day,’ he went on to say.67 This satirical take on toponymic re-inscription generated name changes like Houtbay being changed to Houtbraai, Port Elizabeth, Pork Elizabeth and Parkhurst, Porkhurst, for example. By calling for the renaming of towns and cities, Scannell satirized the difficult, highly charged subject of place and street renaming in South Africa (see Swanepoel 2009, 2012; Koopman 2012; Orgeret 2010; Ndletyana 2012). Attempts to rename the city of Pretoria, and the renaming of streets in the city of Durban, had been especially fraught and sometimes even painful for locals who viewed the ANC government’s management of the process’ confusing, heavy-handed and even discriminatory. The #Braaidaytown campaign made light of the serious, highly contested subject of place renaming, and took up the rebellious political rhetoric behind it to promote the idea of braai. Political satire was an important, essential mode of expressing the claims for and about the significance of the braai and braai’ing for heritage, as a medium that hinted at the seriousness of national heritage while parodying it at the same time. To illustrate, the following year 2014, Scannel released a video on
the popular web portal YouTube titled the ‘Steak of the Nation Address’ which satirized the popular event of the president’s annual national address. In the lessthan-three-minute finely crafted piece of political satire, Scannell proposes that ‘the Steak of the Nation is that on 24 September every house in South Africa will be a revolutionary house, a revolution to unite this nation around fires’.68 Citing the fiery spirit flickering in South Africa’s households, Scannell called on the nation to wave their flags and braai for heritage. Yet, while delivering this piece of political satire, Jan Braai also explicitly played down the idea that the National Braai Day Initiative was in any way political, saying, ‘This is not a party political platform.’69 Rather, it was ‘a braai platform otherwise known as a stoep [porch], a chisa nyama or a garden’.70 Playing politician in satirical promotions such as these, Scannell played down the politics of his campaigns while emphasizing the significance of heritage as an apparently apolitical social and cultural practice.
Patriotism and profit Jan Scannell’s promotional projects provided a revealing commentary on the politics of post-apartheid heritage by, for example, calling attention to the significance of place naming, commemorative days and South Africa’s official heritage sites. But it is important to also bear in mind his own commercial entanglements in the venture, considering that his Braai Day project was launched as a public relations enterprise, and to address the criticism that it was an exploitative commercial venture. From its inception, Scannell repeatedly insisted that the Braai Day project was not for profit or commercial gain. For example, when asked about what would happen to the proceeds generated from an SMS campaign linked to his 2007 campaign, he said, ‘We have no ambition to make money. Legally speaking this is a trust: the Mzanzi Braai Institute Trust.’71 ‘The beneficiaries of the trust are the South African public’, and ‘the main aim is to publicise September 24 as Braai Day’.72 In 2016, speaking to the financial journalist Bruce Whitfield, he insisted, ‘Braai Day as such is not monetised.’73 These claims about the Braai Day project being a non-profit venture in some ways belied Scannell’s reasoning about profit versus philanthropy. ‘My problem with charities,’ he said, for example, ‘coming from a financial background, is that it is a bottomless pit of resources. The charities only help as long as people keep pumping money into it.’74 Rather than create an unsustainable financial entity that was a drain on resources, he advocated for ‘creating something that doesn’t need a constant stream of revenue from donations to keep it flowing’.75
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
He considered his Braai Day project a sustainable philanthropic venture as it had a bottomless potential for generating social capital by bringing South Africans together. ‘With Braai Day we are creating an asset for South Africa that will deliver similar results [to momentous, unifying sporting tournaments] annually without costing the taxpayer a cent,’ he said.76 But Scannell also saw the Braai Day venture in capitalist terms, as a commercial entity that could generate profit for others and maintain him in the lifestyle to which he was accustomed. ‘A point to emphasise is that Braai Day is growing rapidly and that retailers are sitting on a potential gold mine of one extra massive peak in the year,’ he pointed out.77 Indeed, he was inspired by consumption patterns generated by nationalist commemorative days overseas, such as Thanksgiving, saying, ‘In the USA, 90% of the population are eating turkey on Thanksgiving day,’ he observed. ‘This is our goal – a day where 90% or more are eating braai food and consuming braai related products to celebrate this day.’78 But he would also refer to Braai Day as a kind of corporate entity of which he was the sole proprietor. ‘Braai Day you see that as the holding company’, he explained, and ‘there are some subsidiaries that I do make money [off] to sustain my life … all sorts of here and there bits and that’.79 Thus, Scannell personally made a living from various subsidiary braai enterprises. He trademarked the name Jan Braai, ‘with Braai Day … along with a couple of other things as well’.80 He produced and starred in a lifestyle television series called Jan Braai’s for Heritage that ran on cable television for at least three seasons in South Africa. He developed and brought to market a Jan Braai line of sausage and a Jan Braai craft beer.81 He established and managed an annual nation-wide cycle tour that included daily braais. His most widely recognized source of income came from the sale of cookbooks. His book Fireworks was claimed to have sold 50,000 copies combined in English and Africans. He published a number of other braai books including Red Hot, The Democratic Republic of Braai and his last book Shisanyama which featured crowd sourced braai recipes. Some of these would be translated and licensed by international publishing houses for republication overseas, and therefore asserted the cooking tradition internationally. They were part of a growing archive of post-2000 braai cookbooks that became ever more popular once Braai Day media attention picked up. By combining the pragmatic virtues of the instruction manual and the ‘vicarious pleasures of the literature of the senses’, cookbooks, the anthropologist Arjun Appadurai has observed, ‘tell unusual cultural tales’ (1988: 3; see also Sutton 2001: 125–59). As far as they help cultivate cuisines, they also reproduce models of the structures of culture and society, as is indicated by quotes and
references to heritage that appear in some of the promotional media advertising braai cookbooks. ‘Aim[ing] squarely at our heritage and the heart of what is truly South African’, or emphasizing ‘that favourite South African cultural icon – the braai’, these books were filled with recipes that were, for example, ‘unmistakably South African in flavour and feel’.82 By highlighting quotes used to profile just a few braai cookbooks I want to show how collectively they reinforced associations between braai, taste, heritage and nation. Jan Scannell’s cookbooks, however, which were filled with images of him posing and braai’ing in various South and southern African locations, were part of a private commercial enterprise that was explicitly enlisted to further the Braai Day project (Figure 5.4). His cookbooks also actively participated in the invention of braai as a South African cuisine, as they included recipes and advanced braai as a cuisine in ways
Figure 5.4 Book Cover, Jan Braai Democratic Republic of Braai. Courtesy of Bookstorm.
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
that were tailored to shape South African national taste. The text accompanying some of his recipes criticized the geographical indications system, which legally prevented one from using sanctioned terms for region specific products, marked out distinctive South African dishes or reinterpreted wellknown international recipes into a South African idiom. Among some notable examples, in his book, the Democratic of Braai, Scannell complained about the geographical indication system, which protects food products according to their region of origin, and his inability to use the word ‘port’ in his recipe for Lamb Shank Potjie, and claimed that ‘South African Olive Oil is superior to any other olive oil by virtue of the fact that it is South African’ (Scannell 2015: 70), while also including recipes for dishes like South African Toast (a play on French Toast), Braai Tea (a play on Chai Tea) or South African Devils on Horseback. Whatever the flavour and taste of his braai recipes, his cookbooks illustrate not only the extent to which Jan Scannell personally positioned braai as a national cuisine and tried to shape a sense of taste as national but also that he positioned himself as an authority in ways that enabled him to profit from it. The irony of the Braai Day project was, therefore, that Jan Scannell profited from the popularity of the braai through delivering products that catered to market interest and needs that he was also responsible for generating interest in through a project that he espoused was a purely philanthropic enterprise.
Conclusion Jan Scannell’s personal financial investments in promoting the braai show how fraught a heritage project like Braai Day was as a personal project that claimed to be non-commercial while also providing an indirect source of personal income. This was certainly problematic as it set a precedent for the commercial exploitation of South African culture and heritage. It was also self-serving and to some extent duplicitous, as it undermined Scannell’s claims that the Braai Day project was altruistic and inclusive. By actively avoiding the brutal political history of the braai it could also be argued that he was engaged in the erasure of cultural memory by stoking a post-apartheid amnesia. But it would be too easy to simply dismiss the Braai Day project and Jan Scannell’s endeavours on these grounds. Indeed, it would not do justice to my central argument that it helped create a new, shared way of understanding braai as a South African heritage pastime. The playfulness and gimmickry of Jan Scannell’s braai and heritage-related public relations projects can dish up
important insights into the dynamic relationship between the market and the state, and heritage and the senses. The popularity of the Braai Day initiative could signal the state’s inability to develop persuasive commemorative discourses that manifest in concrete, ordinary yet routinized practises that bind the nation. The cultural studies scholar Hizky Shoham (2019: 1) has argued, for example, that grilling during Israeli Independence Day celebrations stokes a ‘banal nationalism’ (Billig 1995) that shows up the ‘failure of official nationalism to design’ popular traditions that galvanise the nation. For him, the success of barbecue lies in the way it ‘ritualizes and iconizes a “way of life,” forms national solidarity, and imbues the performance with nationalist meanings’ (Shoham 2019: 1). Whether in Israel or South Africa, it would appear that nationalism and the nation are the key stakes struggled over when grilling grows in popularity as a past-time associated with commemorative days. As regards heritage and the senses, there were perhaps three insights worth noting. First, as an enterprise concerned with the cooking and eating of food, the project specifically drew attention to the importance of taste and consumption as an arena for making heritage claims. Braai arose against a long history of cuisine styles that were profiled as South African. Arguably, it became a popular national cuisine proving Paul Nugent’s claims that nations do indeed have stomachs and national feelings could be stirred through taste. One of the reasons for the success of Scannell’s project was that there was a charisma and common sense to his ideas about braai as a widely shared practice with a uniquely South African history. They made sense in part, I have suggested, because they arrived at a time when the search for a representative national cuisine was in vogue. But they were developed, polished and deployed in strategic ways. Scannell was able to attract sufficient media attention to his distinctive profiling of braai as heritage. This was further emphasized by independent advertising that promoted the consumption of braai products, as well as the increased marketing of braaiorientated cookbooks and cuisines. The project illustrated how branding and public relations could work to cultivate a sense of common taste and frame heritage as based on consumption. The sociality of communal cooking and eating smoky, grilled foods helped to authenticate these claims. Yet this positioning of heritage in the language of taste and consumption also illustrated the tension commercial consumption could introduce in the positioning heritage projects. That is that on the one hand advertising and commercial marketing could enable and invent new heritage, but also constrain them by rendering important cultural forms commodities subject to the whims of the market.
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
Second, not only did the Braai Day project prompt public reflection on the multi-layered histories indexed by the official calendar of public holidays. It also sparked a public debate about the meaning and significance of South African commemorative days in general and Heritage Day in particular. The Braai Day project implicitly asked, if Heritage Day could not be reduced to cooking and collective consumption, then what indeed were appropriate forms of observing and commemorating South African heritage? For the National Heritage Council the appropriate way of celebrating Heritage Day was by showcasing your culture and cultural diversity through wearing traditional dress, for example. But Jan Scannell’s proposal to braai for Heritage Day celebration also accommodated for difference within unity, by advocating that South Africans unite around a fire, share their heritage and wave the flag. There certainly was no sanctioned way of celebrating Heritage Day, and much of the debate about what was appropriate and inappropriate commemorative behaviour brought to the fore the ongoing, public processing of the meaning and significance of the new calendar of commemorative days. Third, Scannell’s argument that braai was a South African heritage pastime that was worth recognizing raised the important question about which cultural phenomena were worthy of being conferred the status of heritage. Once braai was profiled as a unifying heritage cuisine and pastime, the National Heritage Council and other public commentators contested its assumed heritage significance. They argued that it did not have the gravitas to carry the cultural meanings implied by an important national commemorative day like Heritage Day because of its overt emphasis on leisure and consumption. Doing so, they policed what cultural forms could be accorded heritage status whether officially or unofficially. Certainly the Braai Day project was blatantly invented and market oriented. But in making these criticisms, detractors failed to take into account the commercial underpinnings of all commemorations: indeed the celebrations sanctioned by the National Heritage Council, for example, also required that South Africans invest time and money in showcasing traditional dress. Moreover, it foreclosed the question about what could be considered heritage and who could make those kinds of claims. The popularity and divisiveness of this project indicates further how the state was not the only authority on the production of heritage claims, and well showed how the market could organize and deploy clusters of ideas about culture and tradition to produce new, successful heritage narratives. Overall, the commercial and market-driven invention of this heritage project shows how open and vibrant a context South Africa is for observing the contested negotiation of heritage and the senses.
The 2018 edition of the annual charity event, the CEO-Sleep-Out, offered paying participants arguably one of the world’s most prized heritage experiences. Organised by the CEO-Sleep-Out Trust, a for-profit company that worked to address ‘homelessness as a threat to human dignity’, the event was meant to help provide access to shelter to the homeless through these special annual charity Sleep Out events.1 The inaugural 2015 Sleep Out, for example, attracted over 250 CEOs from businesses across South Africa to sleep on the Nelson Mandela Bridge in downtown Johannesburg on one of the coldest nights of the year for a fee that would be donated to the Girls and Boys Town shelter. The CEO-Sleep-Out claimed that it had collected the equivalent of $3 million for charitable causes. Yet this project was not just about a short-lived charity event. By having some of the leading wealthy business executives in South Africa fully engross themselves in the sensory world of the poor – to have them feel the harsh conditions of sleeping outside on the dirty, dangerous, cold and dark streets – organizers hoped to trigger feelings of empathy that could propel long-term social change.2 The 2018 event was planned to coincide with the Nelson Mandela centenary celebrations in July of that year and to be hosted on Robben Island, just off the coast of Cape Town. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Robben Island is known for commemorating the prison narrative of the struggle for liberation, suffering and the triumph of the human spirit (Buntman 2003). CEOs not only were offered the opportunity to sleep on Robben Island but were also given the once-in-a-lifetime chance to compete for access to one of the most alluring of heritage experiences: a night’s stay in Nelson Mandela’s former prison cell offered at a starting bid of $250,000. Tying an awareness campaign about issues of inequality and charity into that of the struggle for human rights and freedom, the CEO-Sleep-Out claimed it would donate funds raised from the Robben Island edition to a charity working with prisoners. However well-meaning and socially beneficial, the event caused a public outcry: a large proportion of the public found it difficult to accept that access to Robben Island and Nelson Mandela’s cell in particular could be monetized in this way. In the wake of the
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
controversy, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Robben Island Museum denied having ever agreed to provide this kind of access to the charity.3 Robben Island spokesperson Morongoa Ramaboa was quoted as saying, ‘It’s completely impossible. … You can’t auction any cell for that matter. We are a World Heritage Site and accountable to Unesco (United Nations Educational‚ Scientific and Cultural Organisation), and it is the heritage of South Africans. Why would we do that to ourselves? Our heritage is not some piece of carrot that can be dangled to people who have their own financial interests in mind’.4
Ultimately, that year’s edition of the CEO-Sleep-Out was cancelled and the organization’s future projects suspended. As a market-driven, philanthropic heritage enterprise, the Robben Island CEO-Sleep-Out stands alongside other similar projects such as Braai Day or the Legacy Collection jewellery made from the Robben Island fence (Jethro 2019). Yet I think the Robben Island CEO-Sleep-Out controversy is distinct and brings home some of the key themes I have tried to explore in this book. For one it indexes the importance of immersive sensory experience at a heritage site like Robben Island. ‘Heritage destinations’ offer tourists an authentic encounter with places of cultural and historical significance, where they can step back in time and have an embodied encounter with the past (Kirshenblatt-Gimblett 1998; McIntosh 1999). These experiences of the so to say ‘really real’ validate heritage claims for tourists and visitors and in the process generate revenue that helps sustain on-site operations. Yet, such emphasis on experience can easily be construed as shifting a site’s heritage significance from the domain of historical education into that of cultural entertainment, as if the two were mutually exclusive. What I mean to therefore suggest is that this case illustrates very well the tension between the market and the state over the control of heritage that has been evident throughout this book. This tension, I argue, arises because of the terms in which the state reformulated its heritage policies, linking it to a political program of reconciliation and nation-building but without providing other appropriate significant measures for symbolic redress in the form of removing problematic statues and monuments. The state also did not make sufficient strides in addressing social and economic transformation. I have tried to argue that economic inequality and the valourization of heritage as a symbolic panacea for deep forms of social division enabled strange, seemingly contradictory commercial heritage appropriations, such as the marketing of Nelson Mandela’s cell, to appear valid because it purported to contribute to a
social good. It was as if to say, heritage projects of any kind could be framed as convincing and legitimate as long as they contributed to the social good of social cohesion and possibly the alleviation of poverty. In saying this, I do not want to discredit all commercially sponsored heritage ventures. Advertising, marketing and branding are important cultural spaces for the production of new, alternate cultural representations of the past. Exciting heritage imaginaries have emerged out of this space, materialized as products that expand the possibilities for thinking about how the past could be reconfigured and understood. But there exists a general, uncritical assumption that as long as they reference state driven heritage discourses about senses and feelings about togetherness and the past, and that there is a measurable social impact, however small, heritage projects can legitimately approximate the nation as a collective of consumers. Public controversy, as triggered by the Robben Island Sleep-Out, can often be interpreted as inferring public sentiment that the market has just gone too far, that some appropriations are egregious and simply too much. This is valid, and worthy of remarking upon because it signals the ongoing, sometimes circuitous and even contradictory working out of heritage dynamics. But it was not just market-driven projects that triggered these kinds of heritage controversies. Many public disputes about the past concerned other issues and resources, such as land, belonging and identity and indeed the senses. Yet the Robben Island SleepOut controversy illustrates very well how, as I have demonstrated throughout this book, South Africa is a distinct and exciting context where debate about heritage is never fully settled, remaining open and fiercely contested at every turn as different interest groups seek to stake their claims to the past. As I will go on to further highlight, these themes of sensory experience, of the tension between the market and the state and of lively contestation are evident in all of the five substantive chapters of this book. Chapter 1 looked at the role of vision in the state-sponsored Freedom Park heritage project. It was the state’s premier national heritage project that articulated a new inclusive, African-centric post-apartheid heritage narrative. I showed how the project designers who worked on behalf of the state drew on a rhetoric about modalities of seeing and the past that emerged out of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission process and took these forward in their conception of the Freedom Park project. Furthermore, I tracked the state’s rhetoric around the construction of Freedom Park and argued that, in further emphasis of its visual prominence, it was designed to be conceptually and materially monumental, and hence highly visible. It was, for example, purposefully built on a hill overlooking the city of Pretoria so as to be viewed but also to showcase views of the city. Sight and
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
seeing were important for establishing Freedom Park’s persuasiveness as a new national heritage site, since, by making it physically visible it validated the state’s claim to authority over heritage as part of an overall attempt to cohere a national vision oriented towards the past. Yet despite the great material and symbolic investments poured into the project, I showed that it was also to some extent publically invisible, and that this lack of visibility was an indicator of Freedom Park’s failure to persuade an immediate public, and marked the questionable appeal of state models of vision and seeing as panoptic, disciplining and national. Chapter 2 discussed how memorials built as part of the STHP helped illustrate relationships between touch, public feeling and popular commemorative media. I used Laura Anne Stoler’s notion of ruination to explore what a selection of vandalized memorials could say about the relationship between the Sunday Times newspaper and the publics it attempted to address. The chapter explored the persuasiveness and reception of the project through an analysis of the destruction of its primary material elements. I argued that ruination was a helpful analytic because it established a conceptual and sensory interface between the material of the memorial and the publics they addressed. This interface enabled one to interpret the sentiments and feelings that lay behind the often violent physical engagements with them. There, I showed how the sense of touch could help explain the metaphoric and interactive appeal the Sunday Times had tried to establish with the publics it engaged, to persuade them about the social significance of the memorials they built, but also how those appeals were contested through physical acts of material destruction that sometimes carried strong affective resonances. In Chapter 3 I engaged with the relationship between the sense of smell, notions of nostalgia and the experience of urban displacement. I tried to show how smell memories of evictees from communities such as District Six in Cape Town’s inner city featured in claims to belonging and heritage in the city. Specifically, the chapter demonstrated how during apartheid negative sensory references to smell, dirt and filth coloured official descriptions of suburbs such as District Six, which were thriving cosmopolitan, yet predominantly working class black suburbs, and later contributed to their designation for forced removal. Yet once forcefully removed, evictees were able to access and mobilize a trove of sensory memories, including and especially, smell memories to deploy a counter narrative of social life and conditions in these areas. Smell memories, among the many sensory referents entwined in the recollections of the forcefully removed, were especially important for their nostalgic properties, as they linked the forcefully removed to their former homes. The chapter therefore connected
theories of smell, memory, race and urban space to show how smell was one space in which the disparaging historical characterization of areas marked out for forced removal were contested in the post-apartheid present. The book shifted from nostalgia and smell to football, sound and popular culture in Chapter 4. This chapter examined the invention and promotion of a plastic horn called the vuvuzela as an African heritage object during the FIFA 2010 World Cup in South Africa. It highlighted how the indiscriminate loud sound made by the instrument was appropriated and interpreted by state and FIFA officials and marketers to generate and circulate ideas about African culture and South African heritage. I showed how the sound of the vuvuzela naturalized sometimes far-fetched claims about its African distinctiveness, while also highlighting how these claims were contested by those who abhorred and disapproved of the sound and the espoused history of the horn. The chapter therefore shows how assertions to and about African and South African subjectivity were contested and negotiated in and through the interpretation of sound. Moreover, the chapter hinted at how, while the vuvuzela sound attracted widespread attention, it also drowned out other socially generated sounds in local football and society, such as concerns about the possibility of xenophobic violence during the tournament. The relationships between consumption, the sense of taste and South African commemorative days emerged in the attempted rebranding of Heritage Day to Braai Day, which I discuss in Chapter 5. Specifically, it paid attention to how the entrepreneur Jan Scannell (aka Jan Braai) invented and then campaigned for the renaming of this national commemorative day. His project was launched at a time when there was a cultural search for an inclusive national cuisine. I showed how this project reflected a trend across the continent where food and drink were used as socially unifying forces for nation-building. In the case of South Africa, the simplicity and commonness of braai made the claim that it was a heritage pastime easy to pass off as distinct. This idea was also promoted by retail advertising that encouraged South Africans to buy and braai for Heritage Day. Furthermore, cookbooks published by Scannell and others reaffirmed the invented, rhetorical link between Heritage Day on 24 September, heritage, braai and the nation. The project was criticized by the National Heritage Council, journalists and public commentators who argued that to rename Heritage Day and place braai at the centre of national commemorations would reduce the public holiday and heritage commemorations in general to an act of consumption. The chapter therefore shows not only how heritage and national commemorative days were debated in the language of taste and consumption but
Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa
also the profound questions about authority, popularity and the manufacturing of cultural significance projects like these could generate. As a whole, the book shows three things about the role of the senses in heritage formation processes. First, I highlighted how the senses were evoked to provide immediate embodied validation of expectations about the heritage significance of material cultural forms. In this regard, I showed how, for example, the vuvuzela caught the public’s attention because of its volume and tone which easily mapped on to ideas about African traditions of horn blowing trumpeted by state and FIFA officials during the tournament. The acceptance or rejection of the sound was therefore cast as a commentary on the ‘African cultural’ status of the instrument. Or, in another context, when tour guides took visitors to the highest point in Freedom Park and showed them the monuments and sites on the surrounding hills and pointed out the line of sight between the Union Buildings, the seat of the president’s office, it provided an immediate visual confirmation of the place of the monument in South African cultural history and its proximity to state power. The senses therefore facilitated an aesthetics of persuasion that entangled subjects and objects by providing direct, embodied corroboration of socially constructed expectations about the heritage significance of material cultural forms. Second, these references also suggest that sensory experience was also open to criticism and contestation since they were drawn into the mediation of the legitimacy of heritage claims. For example, in Chapter 2, I unpacked how the senses arose not so much in the production but in the deconstruction of a series of memorials built as part of the STHP. While the Sunday Times newspaper sought to convey site-specific heritage narratives through interactive public art memorials that evoked a variety of sensory modalities, it was through the sense of touch, marked on the memorials through vandalism and destruction, that its reception was registered. Moreover, relatedly, I have frequently highlighted how appeals to the senses were substantiated with evidence and elaborated upon through logics that sharpened their credibility as valid foundations for heritage claims. For example, in Chapter 5 I showed how the braai was authenticated using scientific evidence that suggested some of the earliest controlled open fire cooking had first occurred in South Africa, which enabled the further colourful claim that communal open fire cooking and consumption of grilled meat products was a heritage pastime. In this way, across the book, I have also demonstrated how the senses were raised and then enriched as sources of validation through the cultural work of interpreting their corroborating significance in the context of heritage formation.
Third, I showed that South African heritage projects were situated in a politics of authentication that were often negotiated in the language of the senses. Evidence-based assertion was in itself an insufficient criterion for successfully deploying a new heritage project. The form and conditions in which arguments about a claim’s merits were made, often in opposition to those of other interest groups, added to their social and political purchase. Whether it concerned Freedom Park’s opaque visual authority and appeal in the city of Pretoria or the originality of the cultural resonances in the vuvuzela’s sound, the genuineness of the heritage projects that I present in this book was often worked out in debate about the senses. The senses were therefore a primary language for negotiating the production of new heritage. Overall, then, what I have demonstrated is that practices of heritage making were also about the remaking of the senses and sensibilities as modalities for apprehending the past. In turn, therefore, heritage formation was about developing new ways of seeing, as was the case with Freedom Park; about ways of engaging publics through memorial art works through the invocation as well as contestation of the notion of touch as constructed by the Sunday Times’ memorials; about how contests over land restitution and heritage recognition also called attention to the significance of smells and aromas in biographic archives; about how sound and noise were drawn into socially significant, nationbuilding, perhaps even global ways of listening cultivated during the FIFA World Cup and about how the attempted rebranding of Heritage Day also concerned the generation of a new South African cuisine and popular national taste. More than just remaking the senses, the examples of positioning, arguing and claiming the relevance of new heritage projects clearly marked a postapartheid sensory break with the apartheid past. This was indicated by such vivid examples as Jacob Dlamini’s observations about the smell of tear gas and the black experience of state violence in townships; how during apartheid there was sadness that would be punctuated by the joyous sound of the vuvuzela; that the smell of flowers were more fragrant, or that the food tasted better before forced removals in Cape Town; and that braai carried sensibilities of taste, leisure and togetherness that occluded its sometimes disturbing apartheid era sensory associations. Showing these new, context specific, time-bound features of the senses and heritage as negotiated and contested cultural phenomena, South Africa therefore stands out as a truly vibrant social context for the cultural analysis of the sensory past in the present.
Notes Introduction 1 Following these schemes of classification, in this book, generally, and where not explicitly qualified, I will use the term ‘black Africans’ to refer to racially and ethnically black subjects, ‘black South Africans’ to refer to the collective of people of colour, ‘whites’ to refer to Caucasians, ‘coloured’ and ‘coloureds’ as those who are considered to be, but who are not necessarily of, mixed racial descent, ‘Indian’ as the group of people who are of Indian ethnic extraction. Taking this position, I fully acknowledge that racial categories are constructed, fraught and loaded. 2 National Heritage Resources Act 25 of 1999, pg 3. 3 Ibid. 4 I do so acknowledging his invocation of a Kantian framing of the aesthetic as ‘the a priori forms determining what presents itself to sense experience’ (2010: 8). 5 Convention Concerning the Protection of the Cultural and Natural Heritage. Accessed at http://whc.unesco.org/en/conventiontext/, 31 January 2015.
Chapter 1 1 Freedom Park Annual Report 2017/2018, pg 5. Accessed at https://www.freedomp ark.co.za/images/annualreports/2017/Annual_Performance_Plan_2017-2018_resiz ed_opt.pdf, 1 January 2018. 2 Sometimes the Presidential Legacy Projects are referred to in planning documents as the National Legacy Projects. On the South African government website, www.gov.co.za, they are simply referred to as Legacy Projects. I will use the abbreviation Legacy Projects further on in this chapter. 3 Explanatory Memorandum to the Parliamentary Bill for The Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation, Act 34 of 1995. Accessed at http://www.justice.gov.za/trc/ legal/bill.htm, 1 June 2009. 4 The Memorandum for the establishment of the Legacy Projects had been formally adopted by Parliament on 10 April 1997 and the first meeting of the Legacy Committee was held on 11 July of the same year; see Sabine Marschall 2010a: 182–3.
5 Statement by the Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology Mr Lionel Mtshali on Legacy Projects, 15 June 1998; see Portfolio of Legacy Projects Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology 1998. 6 Ibid. 7 Ibid. 8 ‘Launch of the Freedom Park Legacy Project by the Deputy President on 1 June 2000’, Cabinet Statement issued 29 May 2000. 9 Mandated with procuring funds for the project and engaging relevant stakeholders, the Trust was presided over by twenty-one Trustees hailing from such diverse fields as academia, architecture, arts and culture, the judiciary and government. Joe Modise, then Minister of Defence, was appointed chairperson of the Trust and President Nelson Mandela was declared patron. See Statement on Cabinet Meeting, 15 March 2000 and 31 May 2000, Government Communications and Information Systems. 10 Address by the Deputy President Jacob Zuma at the Launch of the Freedom Park Trust, 1 June 2000 at the Presidential Guest House. 11 Ibid. 12 Ibid. 13 Ibid. 14 Ibid. 15 Ibid. 16 Ibid. 17 Ibid. 18 Statement by Dr Ngubane, 1 June 2000 at the Launch of the Freedom Park Trust at the Presidential Guest House. 19 Ibid. 20 It is important to note that, in making this decision, and considering the complexities of the venture, the state made strident attempts to consult with the public and incorporate their views and feelings about the project. See for example, Report on the Assessment of Stakeholder Perceptions and Preferences for Freedom Park, Prepared by Africa Now in 2002, and Sabine Marschall 2010a: 217–20. 21 Statement on Cabinet Meeting 31 May 2000. Questions and Replies to Parliament, Issues 20–27. Government Gazette, 3688. Pretoria: Government Printers. 22 ‘Draft. Meeting of the Trustees of Freedom Park. 1 June 2000; 09:30–13:30’. The Presidential Guest House’, as cited in Sabine Marschall 2010a: 214. 23 Freedom Park Media Release, Architects Invited to Register for Design Competition, 20 January 2003. 24 Ibid. 25 ‘Architectural Design Brief for the Intermediary Phase, Discussion Draft 2’. 26 July 2004.
26 Freedom Park website. Accessed at http://www.freedompark.co.za/cms/index.php? option=com_content&view=article&id=19&Itemid=21, 1 June 2009. 27 My invocation of Pierneef is not meant to signal an unawareness of the ambiguity and complexity of the picturesque visual tradition in South Africa, but merely to emphasize the example outlined here. 28 OCA ‘Ke E: /Xarra //Ke: Freedom Park Architectural Brief ’. 2004. Pretoria: Office of Collaborative Architects. 29 Ibid. 30 Pretoria News, 7 November 1941. 31 Ibid. 32 ‘Isikhumbutho’. Draft Proposal by Dudu Bogatsu, to the TPC, Technical team and heritage Department, 17 November 2004, pg 1. The spelling of Isikhumbutho here is different from the spelling that appears on the official Freedom Park website. See Accessed at https://www.freedompark.co.za/elements-of-the-park/garden-ofremembrance.html, 25 March 2018. 33 Preface to the Freedom Park Architectural Competition, 2002. 34 Ibid. 35 ‘Isikhumbutho’. Draft Proposal by Dudu Bogatsu, to the TPC, Technical team and heritage Department, 17 November 2004, pg 1. 36 Before 1994, 16 December was marked as Dingaan’s Day, a national public holiday to commemorate the defeat of the Zulu regiments commanded at the Battle of Blood River by General Dingaan. It was later changed to Day of the Covenant, and finally the Day of the Vow. It was also an occasion for African resistance, protest and appropriation. For example, the ANC’s armed wing Umkhonto we’Sizwe was founded on 16 December 1961. 16 December was retained as a national public holiday in post-apartheid South Africa but renamed in 1994 as Reconciliation Day. 37 I do not wish to claim that these were fixed essentialist sets of significations, as the social significance of these buildings did change to some extent following the shift to democracy. At the same time I do not want to suggest that we can draw moral equivalences between the kinds of heritage they are meant to commemorate.
Chapter 2 1 ‘Heritage Virgins Come of Age’. Accessed at http://heritage.thetimes.co.za/article. aspx?id=570377, 20 December 2013. 2 I understand interactiveness as relating to a range of relations of tactile, physical engagement staged by the artworks that include occasions of engagement that were not overt, active and direct. They could relate to the act of sitting on the bollards of the Cissie Gool memorial in Cape Town, for example, or on one of the three
4 5 6
Notes bench-style memorials erected in Cape Town, Johannesburg and the Eastern Cape, or the handling and touching of the metal crosses of the Olive Schreiner memorial in Cape Town, or feeling the dimpled, tiled surface of the colourful Bessie Head memorial in Durban. ‘Fifth Sunday Times Commissioned Sculpture Vandalised’, South African Art Times, July 2008. Accessed at http://issuu.com/arttimes/docs/saatjuly08/4, 20 December 2013. ‘Public Art Meets History’s Heart’. Accessed at http://sthp.saha.org.za/home/ public_art_meets_historys_heart.htm, 20 December 2013. Ibid. ‘Dispatches: Blacks Chip Away at Monuments to Afrikaner Power’. Accessed at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/despatches-blacks-chip-away-at-monumentsto-afrikaner-power-1240902.html, 20 December 2013. ‘The Abandoned Robert Waterwitch/Colleen Williams Memorial’. Accessed at http://22.214.171.124/argief/berigte/dieburger/2008/03/04/PQ/3/srstatue-811.html, 20 December 2013. In this chapter, I refer to ruination, drawing on Laura Anne Stoler’s ideas of ruination as a process of despoiling, to avoid the pejorative associations that may attach to a conventional lexicon of spoiling material culture, and in recognition of the active-passive conceptual slippage that can arise when referring to notions of neglect or vandalism. ‘Race Classification Board’. Accessed at http://sthp.saha.org.za/memorial/race_ classification_board.htm, 20 December 2013. This is a truncated version of the conceptual narrative, as are the other quoted narratives. To my knowledge these narratives were provided as informative vignettes. I do not know whether they have been contested or debated. The selection criteria is described in a document discussing the Commissioned Artists (n.d.). Selection was done on ‘a closed-commission basis’, rather than open competition. Commissions were awarded on the basis of ‘recognition for [artists] work and appropriateness to the project’. Furthermore, ‘Only South African contemporary artists’ living and working in South Africa were chosen. In many cases, this meant artists were selected from the province in which a series of memorials were being erected. Artists had to show a portfolio that demonstrated ‘successful experience in producing corporate and/or public commissions or similar projects’, as well as ‘a special focus on public space and an interest in South African heritage, history and local narratives’. Sometimes, artists were commissioned because of their ‘existing knowledge, involvement or proven interest in one of the specific stories or sites’ such as Rod Sauls. Moreover, ‘A diversity of artists, in terms of style, interest, concept and media across the spectrum of race, gender and age were contacted and employed.’
11 Accessed at http://heritage.thetimes.co.za/memorials/WC/RaceClassification Board/, 20 December 2013. 12 Official Census data records racial demographics using five categories, African, White, Coloured, Indian/Asian and Other, that respondents are invited to selfidentify with. Following this scheme of classification, here coloured and coloureds refers to those who are considered to be, but necessarily of, mixed racial descent. Taking this position, I fully acknowledge that racial categories are fraught, loaded and socially constructed. 13 ‘The Lightbulb Moment’. Accessed at http://sthp.saha.org.za/memorial/articles/ the_light_bulb_moment_the_artists_concept_9.htm, 20 December 2013. 14 Rod Sauls, ‘Artist Proposal’, August 2006, pg 1. 15 This was the case with a number of other memorials in the STHP that were erected in Cape Town. For example, Barbara Wildenboer’s memorial dedicated to Olive Schreiner was badly weathered, with paint flaking and the metal crosses pinned into its central pond either having been bent or simply removed. The entire memorial was removed in 2016. The series of bollards that made up the memorial to the activist politician Cissie Gool was also in a bad state of disrepair with chunks of concrete plaster flaking off and the plaque having been removed and never recovered. The area around the memorial was also often unkempt and litter strewn. Later, in 2016 the memorial was updated and cleaned up. 16 As of 2014, the benches have been repaired but not to their original condition, which included the full legislative inscriptions on the slats. The plaque is also missing. 17 As has been mentioned in Chapter 1, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was a legislative institution established in 1996 to investigate incidents of gross human rights violations between 1960 and 1994, assist with the rehabilitation and restoration of the dignity of victims and investigate and assess perpetrators appeals for amnesty on the basis of their full disclosure to the commission. Various groups and individuals came forward to make submissions to the commission, and a series of public hearings were staged around the country between 1996 and 1998. 18 Undated narrative brief. 19 ‘Pipes of Protest’, Natal Witness, 7 March 2008, pg 3. 20 I am not sure if the series of memorials erected in the Durban area were subject to similar acts of ruination. There was very little public information about them, and the ones I did manage to find were generally in a good state of repair when I travelled to locate them in early 2011. 21 ‘Take a Walk: Interview with Doung Jahangeer, Part 1’. Accessed at http://www.casc oland.com/2007/dag/13feb.html, 20 December 2013. 22 Ibid. 23 Ibid.
24 The Sunday Times also commemorated Enoch Mgijima, the prophet who led the Israelites Christian movement at the Bulhoek Massacre with a memorial cited very near the location of the incident. See http://www.sthp.saha.org.za/memorial/enoch_ mgijima.htm 25 ‘The Lightbulb Moment: the Artist Concept’. Accessed at http://sthp.saha.org.za/ memorial/articles/the_light_bulb_moment_the_artists_concept_4.htm, 20 December 2013. 26 Ibid. 27 Ibid. 28 Just before its installation, a close relation of one of the management team tragically passed away. In homage to the deceased, the team gathered and said a prayer over the bronze statuette. The ceremony was also considered a blessing of protection. Personal Interview with Michael Barry, 7 February 2010. 29 ‘The Freedom to Dream’. Accessed at http://www.zachtaljaard.co.za/projects/freedomto-dream/freedom-to-dream-reworked-2.jpg/, 20 December 2013. 30 Dispatch Online, 23 June 2008. 31 ‘Tutu Desecrated’. Accessed at http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/tutu-desecr ated-1.405433#.U1EXo9xbxg0, 20 December 2013. 32 Dispatch Online, 24 June 2009. 33 ‘Mnqaba Journal; South Africa Returns a Prophetess to Her People’, New York Times, 18 November 1998. Accessed at https://www.nytimes.com/1998/11/18/world/mnqa ba-journal-south-africa-returns-a-prophetess-to-her-people.html, 24 June 2009. 34 ‘Tsietsi Mashinini’. Accessed at http://sthp.saha.org.za/memorials.htm, 20 December 2013. 35 ‘The Lightbulb Moment: the Artists Concept’. Accessed at http://sthp.saha.org.za/m emorial/articles/the_light_bulb_moment_the_artists_concept.htm, 20 December 2013. 36 Ibid. 37 ‘Learners’ is the official term for school goers in contemporary South Africa, while they are referred to as pupils or students in apartheid sources. 38 For example, Usha Seejarim’s Mohandas Gandhi memorial was vandalized soon after its unveiling. Trash had been placed inside the pot and set alight, damaging the zoetrope images. And in Newtown, not far away, the Brenda Fassie memorial also suffered repeated incidents of vandalism, with the microphone head, the central interactive component of the piece, having been broken off and repaired on a number of occasions. See, for example, ‘Brenda Fassie Intact Again’. Accessed at http://www.joburg.org.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7940: brenda-fassie-intact-again&catid=122:heritage&Itemid=203, 23 February 2015. 39 One cannot equate this disaffection with that of students of 1976. The education of black township youths in the democratic dispensation presented constrained, yet different possibilities for transforming their material circumstances.
40 Synnott’s observations are crafted in relation to the sociology and anthropology of the senses, where he broadly relates the sense of touch to different perspectives on it’s place and use in human development, depth of human relations and gendered notions of tactility, physical intimacy, sex and power. 41 Telephonic interview with Charlotte Bauer, 18 January 2010. 42 Personal interview with Mondli Makhanya, 26 January 2011. 43 Ibid. 44 Personal Interview with Michael Barry, 7 February 2010.
Chapter 3 1 ‘Heritage Day at the Cape Town Flower Market and Trafalgar Place, 24 September 2016’. Accessed at https://nowseum.com/2016/09/24/heritage-day-at-the-flowermarket-in-adderley-street-and-traflagar-place-24-september-2016/ and ‘Cape Town Floriography: Nowseum’. Accessed at https://www.thesalsacreative.com/cape-townfloriography, 1 July 2018. 2 District Six has generated a rich archive of biographical information more than that related to other sites of forced removal. By writing about places of forced removal in this way I do not want to smooth over the differences and particularity of experience of different groups in different parts of the city. 3 For an account of some of the sociological reasons for such narratives of olfactory deterioration see Constance Classen’s (1993) important chapter on the aroma of the rose and historical de-oderization. 4 I wish to thank Rustum Kozain for pointing this out and for his careful reading and remarks on this chapter. 5 Klop Klop written by David Kramer and Taliep Petersen. Lyrics accessed at https://public-history-weekly.degruyter.com/4-2016-22/music-public-history/, 1 March 2018. Originally published by BLIK MUSIC, 1986. 6 This doughnut is spelled koesiester in Cape Town, and refers to a dough ball dipped in a sugary syrup and sprinkled with coconut flakes. The koeksister, however, is an Afrikaner sweet treat made of braided crisply fried dough dipped in sugar syrup. The difference in spelling and pronunciation is key to distinguishing between these two very different, but sometimes confused, confectionaries. Here I adhere to the authors’ spelling, while assuming they refer to the koesister, which is most common in the Western Cape Province. 7 The South African Heritage Resources Agency provisionally granted the designation in 2006, but this provisional designation was not confirmed and fell away in 2008 leading to the latest campaign to institute a permanent declaration.
Chapter 4 1 ‘Xenophobia and the World Cup’. Accessed at https://mg.co.za/article/2010-07-06 -xenophobia-and-the-world-cup, 1 January 2019. 2 Peter Alegi has poignantly described the African Renaissance as the ‘belief that modernity and globalization, combined with African cultural heritage, [could] be harnessed to reinvigorate the continent economically and politically’ (2010: 129). See also Van Kessel 2001. 3 ‘Statement by President Mbeki to the Nation on the Failure to Secure the Bid to Host the 2006 World Cup’, 6 July 2000. Accessed at http://www.polity.org.za/polity/ govdocs/pr/2000/pr0706c.html, 28 October 2014. 4 Ibid. 5 ‘Thabo Mbeki: Presentation to FIFA on South Africa’s Bid for the 2010 Soccer World Cup’, 14 May 2004. Speech issued by the South African Presidency. Accessed at http://www.thepresidency.gov.za/pebble.asp?relid=3078, 20 December 2013. 6 Ibid. 7 Ibid. 8 African personhood refers to Thabo Mbeki’s framing of a romantic notion of Africanness. Developed immediately after the institution of democracy in South Africa, and articulated in speeches and public utterances such as his often referred to ‘I am an African’ speech delivered upon the occasion of the adoption of the new South African Constitution in 1996, his vision of African personhood denotes a subjectivity that is communal, Pan-African and diametrically opposed to commonsensical notions of autonomous Western subjectivity. 9 Ibid. 10 South Africa World Cup 2010 Bid Book, pg 1/7. http://mg.co.za/article/2010-06-11the-bid-book-for-our-bucks, 8 December 2013. 11 South Africa World Cup 2010 Bid Book, pg 2/9. Accessed at http://mg.co.za/article/ 2010-06-11-the-bid-book-for-our-bucks, 8 December 2013. 12 Ibid. 13 Author interview with Neil van Schalkwyk, V&A World Media and Legacy Centre, 1 July 2010. 14 Ibid. 15 ‘SAB KickStart Enterprise Development Initiative’. Accessed at http://www.sabkickst art.net/index.php/about.html, 18 November 2013. 16 ‘Vuvuzela Horn to be Trademarked’. Mail and Guardian, 19 May 2004. Accessed at http://mg.co.za/article/2004-05-19-vuvuzela-horn-to-be-trademarked, 20 December 2014. 17 ‘Church Claims Football Symbol’. Accessed at http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/foo tball/africa/3766979.stm, 10 December 2013.
18 ‘Vuvuzela Horn to be Trademarked’. Mail and Guardian, 19 May 2004. Accessed at http://mg.co.za/article/2004-05-19-vuvuzela-horn-to-be-trademarked, 20 December 2014. 19 Author interview with Neil van Schalkwyk, V&A World Media and Legacy Centre, 1 July 2010. 20 Ibid. 21 ‘Masincedane’s Vuvuzela is Destined to Be World Cup Icon’, published 17 May 2004 and ‘The Proudly South African “Vuvuzela” Answers World Calls’, published 20 May 2004. Accessed at http://archive.is/mSVdW, 20 December 2013. 22 Ibid. 23 Ibid. 24 ‘World Cup Trumpets the Arrival of Din of Iniquity’. Published 20 June 2009. Accessed at http://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2009/jun/20/confederationscup-world-cup-vuvuzela, 10 December 2013. 25 Comments to ‘In Defence of Vuvuzelas’. Published on 19 June 2009. Accessed at http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/africa/8108691.stm, 31 July 2014. 26 Comments to ‘Hughes backs Vuvuzelas’. Accessed at http://www.sport24.co.za/ Soccer/Hughes-backs-vuvuzelas-20090722, 31 July 2014. 27 Comments to ‘In Defence of Vuvuzelas’. Published on 19 June 2009. Accessed at http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/africa/8108691.stm, 31 July 2014. 28 See Schafer (1994) on soundscapes. 29 ‘Get Your Vuvuzelas Ready for 2010’. Accessed at http://www.sa2010.gov.za/en/ node/1945, 10 December 2013. 30 Ibid. 31 Ibid. 32 Ibid. 33 Ibid. 34 Ibid. 35 Ibid. 36 Ibid. 37 ‘Vuvuzela: a Symbol of South Africa’. Accessed at http://www.fifa.com/tournament s/archive/confederationscup/southafrica2009/news/newsid=1073689.html, 10 December 2013. 38 Ibid. 39 Ibid. 40 Ibid. 41 Ibid. 42 Ibid. 43 ‘Vuvuzela Row: Ronaldo, Messi Weigh In’. Published 14 June 2010. Accessed at http://www.iol.co.za/sport/vuvuzela-row-ronaldo-messi-weigh-in-1.490624#.Ut ZkavtQiG8, 10 December 2013.
44 Ibid. 45 ‘World Cup 2010: Vuvuzelas, the Horns of Africa’. Published 22 June 2010. Accessed at http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/africa/100622/world-cup-2010-vuvuzelas, 21 September 2014. 46 ‘Giant Vuvuzela Breaks Guinness World Record’. Accessed at http://www.bizc ommunity.com/Gallery/196/147/1325.html, 31 January 2015. 47 ‘World Cup 2010: Organisers Will Not Ban Vuvuzelas’. Published 14 June 2010. Accessed at http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/world_cup_2010/8737455.stm, 15 December 2013. 48 ‘Readers Letters’. Published 6 June 2010. Accessed at http://www.timeslive.co.za/opi nion/letters/2010/06/06/mondli-makhanya-s-nothing-kills-the-joy-of-soccer-like-a -bunch-of-wailing-vuvuzelas-may-30-attracted-a-huge-response.-these-are-som e-readers-views, 15 December 2013. 49 Ibid. 50 Ibid. 51 Ibid. 52 ‘United We Blow’, letter to the editor, Cape Times, 14 June 2010. 53 Ibid. 54 Ibid. 55 ‘Vuvuzela Creator Blown Off?’ Published 8 January 2010. Accessed at http://mg. co.za/article/2010-01-08-vuvuzela-creator-blown-off, 15 December 2013. 56 Ibid. 57 ‘Get Your Vuvuzelas Ready for 2010’. Accessed at http://www.sa2010.gov.za/en/ node/1945, 15 December 2014. 58 ‘Vuvuzela Creator Blown Off?’ Published 8 January 2010. Accessed at http://mg. co.za/article/2010-01-08-vuvuzela-creator-blown-off, 15 December 2013. 59 Ibid. 60 Ibid. 61 Ibid. 62 ‘History of the Vuvuzela: The Fight for the Right to the Horn’. Published 17 June 2010. Accessed at http://edition.cnn.com/2010/SPORT/football/06/17/world.cup.v uvuzela.africa/, 15 December 2013. 63 Ibid. 64 ‘Unholy Row Over World Cup Trumpet’. Published 16 January 2010. Accessed at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8458829.stm, 20 December 2013. 65 Ibid. 66 ‘Shembe Deal Over Vuvuzela’. Published 22 June 2010. Accessed at http://www.sowetanli ve.co.za/sowetan/archive/2010/06/22/shembe-deal-over-vuvuzela, 20 December 2013. 67 Ibid. 68 ‘Experience: I Invented the Vuvuzela’. Published 10 July 2010. Accessed at http:// www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/jul/10/i-invented-the-vuvuzela/print, 15 December 2013.
69 ‘Greek Gifts: Lapido Rejects S’African Vuvuzelas’. Accessed at http://www.thisdayon line.com/nview.php?id=168940, 25 March 2010. 70 ‘Africa: This Vuvuzela Madness Must Stop’. Published 14 November 2009. Accessed at http://allafrica.com/stories/200911140002.html accessed, 20 December 2013. 71 ‘Greek Gifts: Lapido Rejects S’African Vuvuzelas’. Accessed at http://www.thisdayon line.com/nview.php?id=168940, 25 March 2010. 72 ‘2010 Soccer World Cup: Where is the Moral Argument’. Published on http://www .africultures.com/php/index.php?nav=article&no=5757, 20 December 2013.
Chapter 5 1 Accessed at ‘Museums and Archaeology’, https://www.solms-delta.co.za/museu ms-archaeology/, 1 July 2018. 2 ‘Food of Origin’. Accessed at https://www.solms-delta.co.za/fyndraai-restaurant/, 1 July 2018. 3 ‘Browse the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage and the Register of Good Safeguarding Practises’. Accessed at https://ich.unesco.org/en/lists?term=vocabu lary_thesaurus-10, 1 June 2018. 4 ‘The Gastronomic Meal of the French’. Accessed at http://www.unesco.org/archives/ multimedia/?pg=33&s=films_details&id=1662&vl=Eng&vo=2, 1 June 2018. 5 ‘South African Braai; It’s a Guy Thing’, The Christian Science Monitor, 16 January 1997. 6 Best South African Braai Recipes. Accessed at https://www.penguinrandomhouse.co. za/book/best-south-african-braai-recipes/9781868254033, 1 July 2018. 7 Cited in The Christian Science Monitor, 12 June 2002, pg 16. 8 Cited in ‘Meet Jan Braai, the Man Behind National Braai Day’. Accessed at http:// www.702.co.za/articles/41921/meet-jan-braai-the-man-behind-national-braai-day, 1 December 2016. 9 Ibid. 10 Ibid. 11 Ibid. 12 Ibid. 13 ‘Inspiring a Nation: Jan Braai’. Accessed at http://www.jobvine.co.za/blog/2014/11/ inspiring-a-nation-jan-braai/, 1 December 2016. 14 By this time, Tutu had been designated patron of many organizations, so many in fact that he admitted, ‘Sometimes I am surprised when people say, ‘You are our patron.’ See ‘Tutu Praises Unifying Barbeques’. Accessed at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/ hi/africa/6981326.stm, 1 December, 2016. 15 ‘Tutu: One Nation, One Braai’. Accessed at http://www.mg.co.za/article/2008-09 -02-tutu-one-nation-braai, 24 September 2009.
16 Cited in ‘Meet Jan Braai, the Man Behind National Braai Day’. Accessed at http:// www.702.co.za/articles/41921/meet-jan-braai-the-man-behind-national-braai-day, 1 December 2016. 17 As cited in ‘Tutu: One Nation, One Braai’. Accessed at http://www.mg.co.za/artic le/2008-09-02-tutu-one-nation-braai, 24 September, 2009. 18 ‘thirtyfour Launches SA’s Biggest National Braai Campaign for Castle Lager’. Accessed at http://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/82/28162.html, 1 December 2016. 19 ‘We Did Start the Fire’, Supermarket and Retailer, July 2013, pg 20. 20 Cited in ‘Meet Jan Braai, the Man Behind National Braai Day’. Accessed at http:// www.702.co.za/articles/41921/meet-jan-braai-the-man-behind-national-braai-day, 1 December 2016. 21 Cited in ‘All of South Africa Loves to Braai’. Accessed at http://www.news24.com/ SouthAfrica/News/All-of-SA-loves-to-braai-20070822, 1 December 2016. 22 Ibid. 23 Ibid. 24 Ibid. 25 Ibid. 26 Cited in ‘Burn the Past on National Braai Day’. Accessed at http://mg.co.za/article/ 2007-09-20-burn-the-past-on-national-braai-day, 1 December 2016. 27 ‘For Whites, Just Another Weekend’, New York Times, 23 June 1986. 28 TRC 1998, volume 2, chapter 3, pg 284. 29 Cited in ‘Born to Braai’, Supermarket and Retailer, July 2014, pg 21. 30 See, ‘Bring on the Heat’, Supermarket and Retailer, July 2012, ‘Born to Braai’, Supermarket and Retailer, July 2014, ‘We Did Start the Fire’, Supermarket and Retailer, July 2013, ‘The Fresh Meat Market in South Africa: Challenges and Opportunities’, Supermarket and Retailer, July 2015. 31 Quote cited in ‘Bring on the Heat’, Supermarket and Retailer, July 2012, pg 19. Research indicating a consumption spike highlighted in ‘May the Wors Be with You … (Groan)’. Accessed at https://mg.co.za/article/2013-09-27-00-may-the-wors-bewith-you-groan, 1 December 2016. 32 Cited in ‘Burn the Past on National Braai Day’. Accessed at http://mg.co.za/article/ 2007-09-20-burn-the-past-on-national-braai-day, 1 December 2016. 33 Ibid. 34 Ibid. 35 Ibid. 36 Ibid. 37 Cited in ‘Braai for Heritage’. Accessed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMA wPmlpq6U, 1 December 2016. 38 Ibid. 39 Ibid.
40 Ibid. 41 Cited in ‘A Cultural Ritual That Belongs in History’s Dustbin’. Accessed at http:// www.sowetanlive.co.za/sowetan/archive/2007/09/25/a-cultural-ritual-that-is-fit-forhistory_s-dustbin, 1 December 2016. 42 Ibid. 43 Ibid. 44 Cited in ‘Some Boerewors and Chops …’. Accessed at https://www.iol.co.za/news/ south-africa/some-boerewors-and-chops-414798, 1 December 2016. 45 Cited in ‘May the Wors Be with You … (Groan)’. Accessed at https://mg.co.za/art icle/2013-09-27-00-may-the-wors-be-with-you-groan, 1 December 2016. 46 See for example, ‘National Braai Day: a Day of Forgetting’. Accessed at http://www .news24.com/Columnists/TOMolefe/National-Braai-Day-a-day-of-forgetting-2014 0917, ‘Twist Memory and You Distort Identity’. Accessed at http://mg.co.za/prin t/2014-10-09-twist-memory-and-you-distort-identity, ‘Is Heritage on the Grill’. Accessed at http://www.timeslive.co.za/thetimes/2013/09/25/is-heritage-on-the-gril l?service=print, ‘No More Braai Day’. Accessed at http://www.citypress.co.za/col umnists/last-braai/, 1 December 2016. 47 Cited in ‘We Have 11 Languages But We All Know the Word Braai’. Accessed at http://mg.co.za/article/2009-09-23-we-have-11-languages-but-all-know-the-word -braai, 23 September 2009. 48 Cited in ‘Some Boerewors and Chops …’ Accessed at https://www.iol.co.za/news/ south-africa/some-boerewors-and-chops-414798, 1 December 2016. 49 Ibid. 50 Cited in ‘We Have 11 Languages But We All Know the Word Braai’. Accessed at http://mg.co.za/article/2009-09-23-we-have-11-languages-but-all-know-the-wo rd-braai, 23 September 2009. 51 In a video clip that appears on the YouTube video sharing website, Tutu renders the quote differently saying, ‘T-bone steak is wonderful because it is in the shape of our continent’. See, ‘Tutu and the T-Bone’. Accessed at https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=Gvh2hXpplYA, 1 December 2016. 52 Cited in ‘Meet Jan Braai, the Man Behind National Braai Day’. Accessed at http:// www.702.co.za/articles/41921/meet-jan-braai-the-man-behind-national-braai-day, 1 December 2016. 53 Ibid. 54 Ibid. 55 ‘Jan Scannell’. Accessed at http://whoswho.co.za/jan-scannell, 1 December 2016. 56 ‘Jan Braai’. Accessed at http://200ysa.mg.co.za/2015/blog/jan-scannell/, 1 December 2016. 57 Distell Group Integrated Annual Report 2013. 58 ‘A Third of South Africans Actively Celebrates Braai Day’. Accessed at http://braai. com/braai-information/third-of-sa-actively-celebrates-braaiday/, 1 December 2016.
59 Accessed at http://braai.com/national-braai-day-mission/, 1 December, 2016. 60 Ibid. In Jan Scannell’s cookbook, Fireworks, this appeal was put differently in the dedication, requesting that readers ‘get together with your friends and family around a fire on the 24th of September every year to celebrate our heritage, share stories and pass on traditions’ (frontispiece 2012). 61 Ibid. 62 Accessed at, ‘SA Man Breaks Braai Record’. http://www.news24.com/southafrica/ news/sa-man-breaks-braai-record-20100917, 1 December 2016. 63 Scannell would not hold on to the record for very long as the longest braai became a popular record-breaking category for South Africans. Scannell’s record was first usurped in 2011 Vito Polera who braai’d for thirty-two hours. See, ‘SA Man is New Braai King’. Accessed at, http://www.channel24.co.za/News/Local/SA-manis-new-braai-king-20110926, 1 December 2016. Gareth Daniell (also known as BraaiBoy) then braai’d his way to the record 2012. Accessed at https://www.sap romo.com/world-record-braai-master-crowned/831, 1 December 2016. On 24 September that same year, Chef Nando Fraser braai’d 220 kilograms of meat to supersede this record. Accessed at http://www.worldrecordacademy.com/food/l ongest_barbeque_marathon_braai_Nando_Fraser_breaks_world_record_113088 .html, 1 December 2016. Nando’s record was then overtaken by Jan Greef, a South African, in Columbus Georgia, at an event known as a Grillathon, where he braai’d for a total of eighty hours straight. See ‘South African in US Breaks Braai World Record’. Accessed at http://www.sapeople.com/2014/04/27/south-african-in-usa -breaks-world-braai-record-674/, 1 December 2016. 64 ‘Download National Braai Day Song’. http://braai.com/braaiday-song/national-braai day-anthem/, 1 December 2016. 65 It is unclear whether the National Braai Day anthem became popular or how many South Africans downloaded the song. 66 See ‘9 Days, 9 Provinces, 9 Braais’. Accessed at http://braai.com/braai-adventures/9 days-9provinces-9braais/, 1 December 2016. 67 ‘Braaitown Name Changes’ Accessed at http://braai.com/braai-information/braai daytown-name-changes/, 1 December 2016. 68 ‘Steak of the Nation’. Accessed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVMWlVGm T0I, 1 December 2016. 69 Ibid. 70 Ibid. 71 Cited in ‘All of SA Loves to Braai’. Accessed at http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica /News/All-of-SA-loves-to-braai-20070822, 1 December 2016. 72 Ibid. 73 Cited in ‘Meet Jan Braai, the Man Behind National Braai Day’. Accessed at http:// www.702.co.za/articles/41921/meet-jan-braai-the-man-behind-national-braai-day, 1 December 2016.
74 ‘Inspiring a Nation: Jan Braai’. Accessed at http://www.jobvine.co.za/blog/2014/11/ inspiring-a-nation-jan-braai/, 1 December 2016. 75 Ibid. 76 ‘Bring on the Heat’, Supermarket and Retailer, July 2012, pg 19. 77 Cited in ‘Bring on the Heat’, Supermarket and Retailer, July 2012, pg 21. 78 Ibid. 79 Cited in ‘Meet Jan Braai, the Man Behind National Braai Day’. Accessed at http:// www.702.co.za/articles/41921/meet-jan-braai-the-man-behind-national-braai-day, 1 December 2016. 80 Ibid. 81 On Jan Braai Craft Beer see https://untappd.com/b/devil-s-peak-brewing-company -jan-braai/1304813 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4VcY79P70k, 1 January 2018. 82 Quotes in order from, Braai – Reuben on Fire. All accessed at https://www.exc lusivebooks.co.za/product/9780987028457; Braai the Beloved Country accessed at https://www.exclusivebooks.co.za/product/9781431409082; Braai Masters of the Cape Winelands accessed at https://www.exclusivebooks.co.za/product/9781 920289331, 1 December 2017.
Conclusion 1 Accessed at https://theceosleepoutza.co.za/, 15 July 2018. 2 As it was cited on the website, through staging this experience, they hoped participants ‘would gain a genuine empathy for vulnerable communities and the homeless through their experience as this is where a truly philanthropic mindset begins, which leads to continuous and sustainable social change’. The Sleep Out itself was of course carefully staged and controlled with security and other amenities provided to protect the CEOs from the full blight of the urban outdoors. Accessed at https://theceosleepoutza.co.za/, 15 July 2018. 3 ‘Robben Island Museum Slams CEOSleepOut auction of Mandela’s Cell’. Accessed at https://citizen.co.za/news/south-africa/1971253/robben-island-museum-slams-ceo-s leepout-auction-of-mandelas-cell/, 15 July 2018. 4 ‘Furore over CEO SleepOut’s Robben Island Mandela Cell Auction’. Accessed at https://ww w.businesslive.co.za/bd/national/2018-07-05-furore-over-ceo-sleep outs-robben-island-mandela-cell-auction/, 15 July 2018.
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Index acoustic space 110. See also Mcluhan and McLuhan, Laws of Media concept of 106 aesthesis 7 aesthetic formations. See also Birgit Meyer concept of 7 vuvuzela as an 113 aesthetic judgement, taste as a faculty of 125 aesthetics 6, 7, 51, 113, 158 and aesthesis 7 aesthetics of persuasion 5 concept of 7–8, 13, 158 African brand image, and the vuvuzela 105 African fan culture, and the vuvuzela 107, 116 African National Congress 3. See also ANC African Renaissance, and FIFA World Cup Bid 99–102 African subjectivity, and the vuvuzela 99, 113, 119, 157 Afrikaner identity 42 Afrikaner nationalism and cuisine 128 and the Voortrekker Monument 42–3 Alegi, Peter, and World Cup Bid Book 101 Almagor, Uri 74, ANC 123, 132, 133, 135, 140, 146 Anderson, Benedict, Imagined Communities 41 and alternate nationalisms 122, 123 annual New Year’s carnival festival, and District Six 85 Anstey, Gillian 65. See also the Sunday Times Heritage Project Appadurai, Arjun 148. See also cookbooks archival space 64
archive biographic archive 159 Cape Town photographic archives 71 of cookbooks 148 of the forcefully removed 74, 75 and memorials 49, 66 notion of 19–20 of oral history of District Six 83, 84, 85, 88, 93, 95, 96, 128 of public affect 49 of the senses 82, 88 Archive and Public Culture Research Initiative 19 Art at Work, arts management company 63 Arthurs Day 132. See also Guinness Beer Company art museums 11 Association of Critical Heritage Studies 16 authenticity 5, 56 concept of 6 and foodways 126 and French cuisine 127 and landscape scenes 39 and the vuvuzela 105, 106, 113 Avieli, Nir. See barbecue in Israel awe, sense of 37 Bachman, Beville 103, 109. See also vuvuzela bad memories 56–7. See also Race Classification Board memorial Baker, Sir Herbert and design of the Union Buildings 40 Bankie Gedagte. See Race Classification Board memorial; Rod Sauls barbecue 134, 137, 138, 151 as ‘Durkheimian ritual of cohesion’ 123 and Independence Day in Israel 137, 151 Barrow, Brian 86
Barry, Michael 69. See also the Sunday Times Heritage Project Battle of Blood River 42, 133 Bauer, Charlotte 50, 68. See also the Sunday Times Heritage Project Bendix, Regina 125 Bennet, Jannette 6. See also the Sunday Times Heritage Project Berlin, city of 71 Biko, Steve 52 bioscope 85. See also cinemas in District Six black urban experience 1 Blatter, Joseph (Sepp), and the vuvuzela 100, 102, 110, 111 Boehi, Melanie 71. See also Cape Town Floriography and flower sellers and smells of flowers 81–2 boerekos 122 invention of 128–9 Boer Republics 25 Boswell, Rosabelle and sense of smell in Africa 13, 73 Boym, Svetlana 84. See also nostalgia braai 22, 126, 130, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 145, 146, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 157, 158, 159 during the apartheid era 134–5 braai torture 135 cultural distinctiveness of 137–9 definition of 123 Guinness World Record for 144 as heritage 124, 144 as a heritage practice 124 masculinity and 129 as a national cuisine and cooking method 126, 129, 149–50 the nation and 129 and open fire cooking 137, 138, 139, 158 product marketing 136–7 race and 129 religion, politics and 134–5 Braai, Jan. See Jan Scannell Braai4Heritage 141, 142, 143 Braai Day Initiative 138, 139, 143–7, 151 criticism of 139–40 as a public relations project 22, 124, 130, 131, 147, 150, 151
Brain, C.K., theory of first braai 138–9 Brett, David, and theory of picturesque and the sublime 37 British Colonies 25 BulHoek Massacre 62 cannabis, smoke of 89, 90, 91 Cape Khoi 122 Cape Times newspaper 76, 113 Cape Town 19, 21, 52, 54, 55, 74, 75, 95, 113, 116, 119, 121, 144, 145, 153, 156, 159 flower sellers in 71–2, 82 forced removal and racial segregation in 76–9, 95 struggle over ownership 73 and the vuvuzela 111 Cape Town Floriography project 71, 94. See also Melanie Boehi Castle Lager beer, braai association and sponsorship 131–2 CEO-Sleep-Out, controversial Robben Island 153–4 Chevrolet, radio advertisement 134. See also braai, during apartheid Chidester, David 13, 20 Chronis, Athinodoros 11 Cigarette smoke, in District Six 89, 90, 91 Cinemas, in District Six 89 smoke inside 89–91 city of stinks, Cape Town as 76, 95 CityWalks project Durban 59 civil education, school and 67. See also the Sunday Times Heritage Project; Tsiestsi Mashinini memorial Classen, Constance 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 49, 73, 123 The Book of Touch 13 The Museum of the Senses 11, 12 Cole, Catherine 30, 31. See also the Truth and Reconciliation Commission collective effervescence 111. See also Emile Durkheim commemorations 32, 137, 152, 157 notion of 132 commemorative complementarity 32 commemorative days 22, 40, 123, 124, 132, 133, 137, 146
Index commercial commemorative days 132 Commonwealth Day 57 community museums 19 complex of visuality 21. See also Nicholas Mirzoeff; visuality Confederations Cup football tournament 107 Constantia, suburb of 78, 81, 82 consumption 22, 72, 87, 95, 101, 121, 122, 124, 125, 126, 129, 151, 152, 157 of braai on Heritage Day 138, 140, 141, 152, 158 and braai sociality 130–1, 141 and commemorative days globally 137, 148 of films 89 of food and national identity 122–3 police torture and 135 cookbooks 127, 148, 150. See also Arjun Appadurai braai-themed 129, 149, 151 Coombes, Annie History After Apartheid 17, 18 on the District Six oral history archive 83 and nostalgic memorialising 84 Cornelissen, Scarlett and branding of Morocco FIFA 2010 Bid 101 counter-publics, notion of 51. See also Michael Warner Cradle of Human Kind World Heritage Site 138 cultural distinctiveness of African cuisines and ingredients 127 of boerekos 128 of vuvuzela sound 108 cultural history 18, 108 South African 110, 158 of the vuvuzela 110 cultural identity 3, 5 and the vuvuzela 106 cultural institution braai as 57 Voortrekker Monument as 43 cultural significance of braai 56 Cusack, Igor, and African national cuisines 127
de Certeau, Michel and strategies and tactics 59 defacement 51, 66, 68. See also iconoclasm; Michael Taussig; ruination; vandalism notion of 53 democracy 2, 12, 17, 130, 133–4 and braai 138 and commemorative days 133 and Freedom Park 33, 34, 43 and race and citizenship in South Africa 12, 17 demolition of District Six 83, 86, 87, 93, 95 smell memories and 22 Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology 32, 34 Department of Arts and Culture 94 Desai, Ashwin and Goolam Vahed 117 desecration 53 discursive space 67 distribution of the sensible, concept of 8. See also Jacques Rancière District Six 21, 54, 75, 76, 84, 95, 156 forced removal and demolition of 78–9 and nostalgia 83 outbreak of plague in 77 overpopulated slum as an 78 politics of memory of 74 and sanitation syndrome 77 smells in 80, 87–9, 90–3 sounds in 85–7 District Six Museum 54, 75 establishment of and land restitution process 93–4 food and memory workshops 80, 83 divine predestination, and the Voortrekker Monument 42 Dlamini, Jacob 13, 74, 95, 159 notion of nostalgia 84 and sense of smell in the township 75–6 and senses in the township 1 Doss, Erika, notion of memorials 49. See also public feeling Drobnick, Jim 75. See also toposmia Dubin, Steven, Mounting Queen Victoria 18 and smell in District Six 84
Duff, Sarah Emily, and the invention of boerekos 128–9 Durban, city of 57, 58, 59, 60, 146 Durkheim, Emile 111. See also collective effervescence Eastern Beach protest, East London 62 East London, city of 29, 52, 62 Edgar, Robert 61, 63. See also Nonthetha Nkwenkwe Edwards, Elizabeth 17 embodied sensorial experience 7 Employment Equity Act 3 Erlmann, Veit, and concept of resonance 107–8. See also resonance ethno-particularism, notion of 4. See also nationalism Fédération Internationale de Football Association. See FIFA Fenske, Michaela 125 FIFA 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 107, 108, 113, 115, 116, 117, 118, 157 endorsement of vuvuzela 109–11 FIFA 2010 World Cup 22, 97, 98, 99, 144, 157 and the African Renaissance 100–4 announcement of winning bid for 102 Bid Book 101 World Cup Bid 100, 104 and xenophobic violence 97, 117, 119, 157 fish 81, 87 smell of 88, 91, 92 flowers 21, 71, 81 bus smells like 81 cultivation in Constantia, Cape Town 81–2 loss of smell 82 smell of 159 trade in 82 flower sellers 81, 82, 94 and Cape Town Floriography project 71 forced removal, as sanitizing the city 77, 95 Fordyce, Bruce, black arm band protest 57–8, 61. See also ‘Pipes of Protest’ memorial; the Sunday Times Heritage Project
forgetting 18, 60, 84 Foucauldian panoptic structure of visuality 43 Foucault, Michel 43, 52 Freedberg, David 52 Freedom Day 133 Freedom Park 25, 27, 31, 155, 156, 158, 159 and the Africanist model of nation 4 formation of 21 location of 35 and monumentality 27–8, 34, 45 as a National Legacy Project 32, 33, 34, 35 and public invisibility 26, 45 and vision and visuality 29, 37–44 French gastronomic meal, as Intangible Cultural Heritage for Humanity 126, 127 French Revolution 14, 52 Gamboni, Dario 52, 53 Gandhi, Mohandas, memorial for 50. See also the Sunday Times Heritage Project gangs, in District Six 89 Garden City 78 gaze, the 29, 44 male 28 panoptic unilateral 43, 45 gees and Hyundai marketing campaign 111–12 notion of 111 geographical index system 126 Gillis, John 132. See also Commemorations goema drum and beat 85 gout de terroir 126 Grégoire, Abbé 52. See also vandalism gross human rights violations. See Truth and Reconciliation Commission Group Areas Act 74, 78. See also District Six Guinness Beer Company 132. See also Arthurs Day Guinness World Record. See Jan Scannell
Index Habermas, Jürgen, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere 51 Hall, Stuart 14 Hamber, Brian 33 Hamilton, Carolyn 19, 20, 44. See also archive Hanover Street, District Six 86, 91, 92 Harfield Village, suburb of 78 Hart, Deborah 77 heritage, notion of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 31, 32, 33, 49, 68, 70, 71, 75, 82, 84, 96, 97, 98, 118, 119, 121, 122, 124, 126, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157, 158, 159 as African 107, 108 braai as 123, 124, 130, 131, 132, 137, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 146, 147, 149, 152, 157 and Braai Day 134, 140, 152, 157 and the built environment 16 and cuisine 127 as experienced 8 genealogies of 13–15 and land restitution 93 market-driven heritage ventures 71, 73, 74, 121, 152, 154, 155 and nationalism in South Africa 2–4 and the sense of taste 122, 126, 129, 149, 151 and the senses 11–12 and smell 73 Heritage Day 22, 71, 123, 124, 133, 134, 138, 139, 140, 141, 144, 152, 157, 159 and marketing promotions 136–7 official state designation of 132 proposal to rename 130 heritage dynamics 155 Heritage Dynamics Project 4–5, 8, 13. See also Birgit Meyer; Mattijs van de Port heritage form 7, 52, 68 as archives of the senses 20 French gastronomic meal as 127 vuvuzela as a 99, 102, 111, 112, 113, 119
heritage formation 2, 8, 19, 23, 99, 111, 158, 159 conceptual roots of 20 definition of 16 practises of 4, 6, 111 South African state’s conception of 35 heritage studies 15–16 heritage tasting menu, at Solms Delta Wine Farm 122 Hewison, Robert, The Heritage Industry 15 Hook, Derek 49 Howes, David 1, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 42, 123 Howes, David and Classen, Constance 10, 123 Ways of Sensing 9 Human Rights Day 133 Human Rights Violations Hearings. See Truth and Reconciliation Commission Huyssen, Andreas 28 Hyundai, and world’s biggest vuvuzela 111 iconoclash 53 iconoclasm 52 definition of 53 in-betweeness 58 Indian Ocean 13, 73 indigenous knowledge systems Isivivane. See Freedom Park Ismer, Sven 111
Jackson, Shannon 77, 79, 95 Jahangeer, Doung 58, 59, 60. See also ‘Pipes of Protest’; and the Sunday Times Heritage Project Jay, Martin 28 Kaiser Chiefs football club 106 Katlehong, township of 1, 76 Keller, Helen, and smell and nostalgia 80 Kick Start Small Business Programme. See SAB-Miller King William’s Town 61, 63 koesiesters, smell of 92 Kondile, Sizwe 54 Kook en Geniet cookbook, history of. See boerekos; Sarah Emily Duff Kruger, Paul 39, 42
200 La Guma, Alex 86, 87, 88, 91 land restitution 3, 21, 22, 30, 75, 93, 94, 96 in District Six 94 landscape scenes and Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef ’s Pretoria paintings of 37–8 and the picturesque and the sublime 37 Latour, Bruno 53 Le-Corbusier, design principles of 77 Legacy Collection jewellery 73 Leipoldt, Louis C 128. See also boerekos; Sarah Emily Duff Lindholm Charles, theory of authenticity of 6. See also authenticity Lowenthal, David, The Past is a Foreign Country 15 Lwandle community 19 Maake, Freddie 110 claim to own the vuvuzela 114, 115 McCormick, Kay 89 McLuhan and McLuhan, Laws of Media 106, 110. See also acoustic space Makhanya, Mondli, Sunday Times editor 68 Mannenberg STHP Memorial 50 maps 10, 53 market, the 15, 20, 105, 106, 122, 137, 142, 152, 154, 155 and the braai 151 and the vuvuzela 102 marketing 81, 97, 111, 117, 127, 130, 139, 143, 151, 154, 155 of braai products 136 of history at wine farms 122 and sports nation-building 100 the vuvuzela 103–6, 118 Marschall, Sabine 3 Landscape of Memory 18, 68, 69, 133 Mashinini, Tsietsi 64, 65, 66, 67 Masincedane Sport 99, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 109, 113, 115, 118. See also vuvuzela and SAB-Miller Kick Start Programme 104 material culture 7, 17, 21, 49, 50, 93
Index and heritage in South Africa 14–15 and the senses 11 material invented tradition 103 Mbeki, Thabo 4, 41, 94, 102 and the 2010 World Cup Bid 100–1 and the African Renaissance 99 Mbembe, Achille 116 Meyer, Birgit 5, 7. See also aesthetic formations; sensational form memories 11, 18, 21, 22, 70, 73, 80, 82, 83, 84, 85, 87, 88, 90, 91, 93, 94, 95, 96, 123, 156 of apartheid 56–7 of food 91–3 of the forcefully removed 73–96 and nationalism 132 and restitution 93–4 and the sense of taste 125 smell memories 74, 75, 84, 87, 156 and smoke 88–91 memory 14, 17, 18, 22, 26, 57, 64, 71, 72, 74, 75, 80, 84, 88, 89, 91, 93, 96, 146, 157 and commemorative days 133 contested memory in Cape Town 72 counter memory 75 and national cuisines 127 national cultural memory 14, 18, 64, 140, 150 politics of 13, 84, 95 politics of District Six 74 as a sense act 74 and the sense of taste 125 smell and 74 of smoke 88–92 memory studies 18, 133 Mgijima, Prophet Enoch 62. See also Bulhoek Massacre Miller, Daniel 17 Mirzoeff, Nicholas 28. See also visuality nation, the 2, 13, 21, 39, 100, 101, 102, 112, 116, 126, 137 and braai and Braai Day 129, 131, 138, 144, 147, 151 and collective heritage 14 as consumers 155 and cuisine 127
Index and Freedom Park 31, 34, 35, 42, 45 models of the South African 4, 133 as sensed 123 and South African heritage 2–4 nationalism 2, 4, 16, 37, 40, 117 Afrikaner nationalism 42–3, 128 banal nationalism and barbecue 151 civic 3 consumption and 22 and heritage 13–15 and landscape scenes of Pretoria 37–9 and monumentality 28 and the National Legacy Projects 32 Romantic 10 as sensed 123 nation-building 2, 4, 10, 20, 26, 27, 99, 124, 130, 154, 157, 159 and braai and Braai Day 130 and National Legacy Projects 32–5 sports patriotism and 98, 99–100 Ngubane, Dr Ben 35 Nigerian Football Supporters Club, rejection of vuvuzela by 116 Nkwenkwe, Nontetha 61, 63 noise 1, 86, 87, 90, 98, 99, 103, 107, 111, 118, 159 concept of 108 Nokwe, Duma memorial 47. See also Sunday Times Heritage Project memorial for 47 nostalgia 13, 21, 22, 71, 80, 84, 95, 156 definition of 83 reflective 84 as a sense act 74, 84 and taste 125 Nugent, Paul 22, 129, 151 on the consumption of food and national identity 122–3 Nuttall, Sarah and Cheryl-Anne Michael, Senses of Culture 12 oral history archive, of communities of forced removal 75, 83 Original Sound of South Africa. See Masincedane Sport; vuvuzela Orlando Pirates football club 103, 106, 109 Osseo-Asare, Fran 129
Pan-Africanism 97, 99, 100, 102, 109, 117. See also Thabo Mbeki; vuvuzela and braai 141 Panagia, Davide 10 Parr, Adrian 28 patriotism 3, 98, 100, 105, 119, 136, 138, 147 people, the 40, 42, 48, 60, 85, 86, 60 notion of 39 as sensory community 72 Phokela 65 Pierneef, Johannes 38, 39 Pietermaritzburg, city of 57 Pieterson, Hector 64 ‘Pipes of Protest’ memorial 57–8. See also Doung Jahangeer; Sunday Times Heritage Project political life of sensation 11. See also Davide Panagia politics of authentication 4, 8, 13, 159 concept of 7 politics of memory 13, 74, 95 popular culture 22, 74, 98, 119, 157 Population Registration Act of 1950 54 Posel, Deborah 2 Pretoria, city of 25, 27, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 45, 61, 63, 145, 146, 155, 159 Pretorius Square 25 Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act 29. See also Truth and Reconciliation Commission Proudly South African branding project 103, 106 public art 17, 48, 50, 58, 59, 60, 68, 69, 158 and lost urban space 60 violence of 53 public feeling 21, 47, 49, 50, 66, 70, 156 heritage forms as archives of 20 and the Sunday Times Heritage Project memorials 49–50 public history 19, 49, 69 Public Holidays Act 3, 132
publicness 49. See also Jürgen Habermas notion of 51, 70 publics 21, 49, 53, 55, 60, 66, 68, 69, 156, 159 concepts of 50–2 public space 60, 66, 69, 70, 106 and aroma 80 and race 59 smoke as constituting 91 and sound 85 race
9, 54, 55, 56, 57, 76, 78, 79, 94, 101, 20, 49, 50, 76 braai as transcending 131, 138 and citizenship 2–4 and defilement and negative sensory associations 95 Race Classification Board memorial 54–6. See also Bankie Gedagte; Roderick Sauls; Sunday Times Heritage Project and bad memories 56, 57 racial demographics 3 Rainbow Nation 4. See also nation, models of Ramadan, holy month of 81 Rancière, Jacques 8. See also distribution of the sensible Rassool, Ciraj 133 Republic Day 57, 58, 59 Republic Day Protest memorial. See ‘Pipes of Protest’ memorial resonance, sonic 98, 106, 113, 118, 159. See also acoustic space; Veit Erlmann concept of 107–8 Restitution of Land Rights Act 94. See land restitution Rhodes, Cecil John 40 rites of passage 13, 73 Robben Island 153–4, 155. See also CEO-Sleep-Out Robben Island Museum 154. See also CEO-Sleep-Out Rouseau, Jean Jacques 6 ruination 21, 47, 48, 50, 52, 53, 54, 68, 69, 70, 156. See also defacement; iconoclasm; vandalism definition of 49
SAB-Miller 118, 132 Kick Start Small Business Programme 104–5 sacred, the 17, 27, 53, 114, 115, 133 and heritage 20 and the vuvuzela 112 sacred space 73, 77 Said, Shelly 58. See also the Sunday Times Heritage Project Salvokop Hill 25, 36, 37, 41, 45 Sauls, Roderick (Rod) 54–6. See also Race Classification Board memorial; the Sunday Times Heritage Project Scannell, Jan 22, 123, 124, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 137, 138, 139, 141, 142, 143, 144, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 157. See also braai; Jan Braai biography of 142–3 commercial enterprises of 148–9 cookbooks of 148, 150, 157 Guinness World Record for braai’ing 144 political satire and 146–7 publicity stunts of 144 Schildgen, Brenda 14. See also French Revolution sensational form, definition of 7. See also Birgit Meyer sensibilities 4, 7, 12, 23, 38, 99, 159 sensory memories 84, 156 sensory studies 1, 8–13, 49 approaches and analysis 1, 2, 75, 79, 95 Shaka Day 133 Shembe Church 114, 115 Shepherd, Nick 14 Siniscalchi, Valeria 44. See also Slow Food Movement site specificity 51 16 June. See Youth Day Slow Food Movement 125 smell, sense of 72, 73, 80, 124, 156 before and after apartheid 81 as cultural 73 and cultural heritage 73 and emotions 73 and memory 74 as substantively and conceptually illusive 73 in the township 75
Index Smith, Mark M 20 smoke 87, 88 of the braai 134, 137, 140 in the cinema 89–91 Smuts, General Jan 40 Solms Delta wine farm 121–2 sound 22, 30, 50, 72, 73, 122, 123, 157, 158, 159 in District Six 84–7 and the notion of resonance 108 in the TRC 45 of the vuvuzela 98, 102, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 118, 119 South Africa Geographical Names Act 3 South African subjectivity 119, 157 Soweto, township of 64, 65, 67, 144 STHP (Sunday Times Heritage Project), 21, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 58, 60, 63, 69, 70, 156, 158 Stoler, Anne-Laura 21, 49, 156 Strawberry Lane, Constantia 78, 81 Sturken, Marita 29 Sunday Times Heritage Project. See STHP Swanson, Felicity and Jane Harries 90 symbolic reparations 31, 32 Synnott, Anthony 49, 66, 73, 74, 80 taste, sense of 22, 121, 122, 124, 126, 150, 157 cuisine and the cultivation of 125 as a faculty of aesthetic judgement 125 and memory 125 and social movements 125–6 Taussig, Michael 53 tear gas, smell of 75, 159 Teff, grain 127 toposmia 75. See also Jim Drobnick definition of 79 touch, sense of 1, 9, 12, 13, 20, 21, 47, 49, 50, 52, 54, 57, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 69, 70, 156, 159 and feeling 49–50 as gendered 66 in museums 12 and social heirarchies 9 tourism 15, 16, 69, 73 touristic spectatorship 43
township 1, 66, 67, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 95, 97, 135, 145, 159 trademark, of the vuvuzela 104–5, 115 of Braai Day 148 transgressive touch 64 Transvaal province 38 Trilling, Lionel, On Sincerity and Authenticity 6 Trnka, Sussana, Senses and Citizenship 11 Trubek, Amy 45. See also gout de terroir Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) 27, 29, 32, 33, 35, 45, 135 Reparation and Rehabilitation Committee of 32 sonic sensibility during 30–1 visual sensibility during 31 Tutu, Archbishop Desmond, and the TRC 30, 31 and Braai Day 131, 137, 138, 141 24 September. See Heritage Day UNESCO 16, 45, 127, 138, 153, 154 UNESCO World Heritage Sites 138 Union Buildings 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 158 Union of South Africa 14 establishment of 25 University of Cape Town 13, 19, 142 University of South Africa 37, 39 University of the Western Cape 54 Urbanamnesia 60. See also Doung Jahangeer urban displacement 21, 22, 71, 75 urban renewal 76, 77, 78, 79 urban space 25, 49, 55, 56, 58, 59, 60, 61, 76, 79, 85 urban spatial violence 79, 96 Valentine, Sue 54. See also the Sunday Times Heritage Project vandalism 21, 53, 58, 60, 61, 62, 63, 66, 69, 158 definition of 52 van de Port, Mattijs 5. See also Birgit Meyer; Heritage Dynamics Project van Graan, Mike 74, 95 Imagining the City: Memories and Cultures in Cape Town 72 and the senses and the people 72
van Schalkwyk, Neil 103, 104, 105, 106, 114. See also vuvuzela visuality 28–9. See also Nicholas Mirzoeff visual modes of apprehension 21 visual sensibility 27, 32, 36, 40 during the TRC 30 Voortrekker Monument 36, 39, 41, 43, 44, 45 and Afrikaaner nationalism 42 vuvuzela 22, 97, 98, 99, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 118, 119, 157, 158, 159 copyright of 115 grievances toward 110
Waterwitch, Robbie 52 Watson, Lynnley 61, 62. See also Nonthetha Nkwenkwe memorial; the Sunday Times Heritage Project William Herbert Sports Ground 116, 119 Williams, Coline 52 Women’s Day 52 World Heritage Council 16 Wrangham, Richard 139 Wren, Christopher 40 Wright, Patrick, On Living in the Old Country 15
Warner, Michael 51. See also counterpublics and intimacy of public speech 66 Waskul, Dennis 74
Zanzibar 13, 73 Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek Zulu 13, 76, 133 Zuma, Jacob 34, 35
32, 133 42