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Ideology and the making of built form : a contemporary museum of South African colonial history.

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The aim of the study is to ascertain the prevalence of colonial ideology within contemporary museological practise. The Empire exhibition of 1936 is used as the basis from which to understand how colonial ideology constructed the built environment and therefore the ideological narratives that continue to inform contemporary post‐colonial museological settings.In the literature review and analysis components of the dissertation the researcher introduced a remedy for the disuniting historical praxis from which the research emerged. By proposing that through a theoretical framework that is founded on Ideology, Post‐Colonial theory and Alterity, one may begin the process of creating an architecture that will serve to acknowledge the Empire Exhibition… an architecture which seizes to be a vestige of colonialism and fosters a positive collective memory in all its visitors. In order to successfully complete the research, the researcher engaged in both primary and secondary data collection and a ualitative approach to data collection was used. Primary data collection was conducted through the use of 14 semi‐structured expert interviews and afocus group of 8 building users. These semi‐structured interviews were conducted in relationto two museum case studies in the Johannesburg area. A third research method was conducted by the researcher in the form of a visual account/ audit of the buildings themselves. Coupling these interviews with thorough case studies of the buildings provides an accurate impression of the effective and ineffective measures in place. Ultimately, the recommendations and conclusions of the dissertation relate directly to the architecture of a proposed Contemporary Museum of South African Colonial History that addresses both the aims and objectives of the study by using the research to determine in what ways architecture was used to create perceptions of the Union of South Africa and its’ indigenous people during the Empire Exhibition of 1936, with particular focus on its role in the mobilisation of colonial ideological narratives and furthermore, proposes the design of a Contemporary Museum of South African Colonial History that creates spaces where an unbiased story of South Africa’s colonial past can be told.


Master of Architecture. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 2014.


Theses--Architecture., Imperialism., Architecture, Colonial--South Africa., Building.