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An analysis of the urban morphological development of Cape Town, South Africa with a specific focus on emergent spatial and mobility systems that generate the opportunity for multi-racial co-presence.
Description Although Apartheid officially ended in 1994, scant empirical evidence exists into spatial factors which may serve to afford the generation of racial heterogeneity. This research, centred on Cape Town, as a primary case study is an empirical examination of the relationship between demographic racial integration and urban configuration in South African cities. The principal argument of this dissertation is that the spatial configuration and mobility systems of an urban environment can either reinforce existing racial homogeneity or allow for the creation of new networks of racial heterogeneity. Furthermore, it is argued that within this context, urban systems, which emerged organically, have the strongest relation with demographic racial integration. The research required a methodological approach which could encompass both physical and behavioural aspects. The precise descriptions offered by the evidence-based research techniques of space syntax allowed for a configurational understanding of both the spatial and social aspects of this study. A morphological analysis of Cape Town over three crucial time periods using space syntax analytical techniques, South African Census and GIS data confirmed that, on a global scale, the city remains predominantly racially and economically stratified. Despite the global trend of segregation, a local analysis of demographic racial integration, revealed that, residential racial heterogeneity is emerging in particular neighbourhoods. Through a compendium of neighbourhood case studies, specific spatial morphological characteristics were identified and shown to have a relation with demographic residential racial integration. Finally, the research examined mobility systems, from the perspective of how they may provide affordances for the creation of patterns of multi-racial co-presence, with a specific emphasis on the emergent minibus taxi system. Whilst this system has been widely stigmatised as chaotic and haphazard, the evidence has shown that it has an intrinsic spatial and social logic, forming the largest network of accessibility in the city. Finally, the thesis draws a series of conclusions which lead to a broad set of proposed recommendations.

Shared with the World by Elangkathir Duhindan

IAS Lies: Art & Lies
In The Waiting Country: A South African Witness, published in 1995, Mike Nicol arrives at the core of this paper. ‘We lie to accommodate’, he says. ‘We lie because we think it does not matter. We lie because we think that in the face of so many years of misery, a lie that is for the good is not a lie at all. And we lie because we have no self-respect. We lie because we are victims. We lie because we cannot imagine ourselves in any other way’. Nicol wrote these words in the immediate aftermath of South Africa’s first free election, intuiting then, as we all do now, the era of post-truth, and the subsequent bankruptcy of global democracy. It is all the more ironic, therefore, that it is now, in this era of fakery, that South African art, or ‘Contemporary African Art’ more generally, should assume its global ascendancy. I will deliver this paper at the same time as 1-54, the largest trade fair committed to African Art in the northern hemisphere, is underway in London. What does this fascination with African art mean today? How real, or how cynical is its current appropriation and commodification? And what relevance does it possess today? Is it merely a new-fangled fetish, profoundly disingenuous in its inflation of the Idea of Africa? Is it a new cool exercise in miserabilism? Or is it a genuine attempt to overcome an inherited pathology? Ed Young’s barbed word-works – BLACK IN FIVE MINUTES and ALL SO FUCKING AFRICAN, exhibited at Frieze in New York in 2016 – suggest the fake instantaneity of a new consciousness, at the root of which lies a smug inflation of identity politics. Smug because – despite Pankaj Mishra’s just observation of ‘a widening abyss of race, class and education’ – it has assumed an unthinking, inviolable, and declamatory righteousness as it modus operandi. Art is not an exercise in art direction, it is not the sum of a problem but its displacement and overcoming. Art does not mirror existing pathology, it re-configures the possibility for its understanding. The best African art, therefore, rewires prevailing prejudices and needs, it alters the state of play and conditions for being – it emphatically refuses to lie. To do so it must challenge its relevance, refuse its commodification, rout out its cynical neo-liberal accommodation, junk its victimhood, and radically re-imagine itself differently. Lungiswa Gqunta’s exhibition, ‘Qwitha’ – first shown at Whatiftheworld in Cape Town in 2018 – is a brilliant instance of this shape-shift. For while it reflects the on-going fatal South African human condition, it asks us to distance ourselves from pain and suspend inflammatory rage. Aberrant and chilling, hers is the kind of conceptual-and-visceral art which institutes a radical moment in this corrupt time. For Gqunta the black body in pain is not, perforce, the oracle of truth. Hers, therefore, is precisely the kind of art which refuses the ubiquitous and unscrupulous persistence in lies.

Shared with the World by Albert Brenchat Aguilar

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