South African commemorative architecture : a critical assessment of selected contemporary struggle sites within a transforming post-apartheid socio-spatial landscape
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The founding statement of this dissertation is that appropriate architectural commemoration in South Africa is an engagement of living memory, which is an amalgamation of memorial and community initiatives that enhances the everyday life of South African society. Since democracy, South African communities have been in constant and simultaneous dialogue with the past and present. A new approach to commemorative architecture has emerged from this, in which the notions of memory and community are hybrid responses to socio-political spatial transformation, and where architects play a significant role in the vision of public spaces, memory-making, and the assertion of a new South African identity. Evident by the recent proliferation of contemporary memorial projects in post-apartheid South Africa, architectural commemoration interweaves residues of the past as well as the constructs of daily life in spaces. Although the projects may vary in scale; the events and people they commemorate; their siting and commission, successful projects stimulate catharsis and nation-building by acknowledging and utilising the past for positive change and growth in the present, whilst creating hope and promise for the future. In order to prove the hypothesis, this dissertation compares South African and international commemorative interventions; questions what the appropriate approach to post-apartheid architectural commemoration in South Africa is; what the role of architects in South African commemoration is; and what the appropriate model for public South African commemorative projects may be. Thus, the major areas of research include philosophical and psychological memory; theoretical and architectural memory; the South African socio-political spatial context; and the study of contemporary post-apartheid commemorative architectural projects in South Africa. The research findings result in the establishment of recommendations for successful South African commemorative representations that encompass practical and symbolic forms of memory.