Izwe Lethu!: Visions of decoloniality through the re-imagining of electrical services

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

This dissertation concerns itself with the land question in South Africa. Izwe Lethu is the title of an apartheid struggle song, still sung today in the many social uprisings and moments of civil disobedience. The title translates to ‘Our Land’ in the Nguni languages. My response to the question of land is explained through the design and reconfiguration of three electrical sub-station buildings. The project seeks to uncover alternate understandings of the built environment by exploring it through the fact of blackness. It tries to demonstrate that the problem of coloniality as complex and systemic, and spans many dimensions-psychological, social, and political. Each site is used to explore a different method of unravelling these dimensions, bringing a certain aspect of decoloniality into focus on each site. Addressing these complex questions in architectural discourse is part of a strategy to realise, envision, and inspire actualising decoloniality. The underpinning ideas of the project are that land is central to decolonisation and the Fanonian idea of decolonisation as self-creation or Becoming.

Includes bibliographical references.