Stranger's Location: Interrogating Apartheid Spatial Legacies and the Idea of Home in New Brighton

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My research focusses on certain aspects of dispossession that are a result of apartheid and some of the different forms it takes. I am particularly concerned with the repercussions of racial segregation in the form of apartheid architecture and ‘township planning', as well as social issues such as alcohol abuse and the honouring of ancestral heritage in relation to my own experience. In this regard, I question what happens to the ceremonial offerings buried in the ground when a family or group of people are forcibly removed? What of their stability? All of these issues can be identified across South Africa but I am specifically interested in the city of Port Elizabeth and the township named New Brighton – where I was born. Port Elizabeth has an interesting but problematic history involving forced removals, resulting in townships such as New Brighton. This document serves as an explication of a body of practical work that forms the major part of this research which strives to highlight the historical continuation of segregation and make visible the issues previously mentioned. My multimedia works explore the violence of forced removals during the colonial and apartheid period, and how this affected the ancestral relationships that some Xhosa families had established and practised within their homes. The work deals with the issue of alcohol abuse within the black communities in New Brighton and the damaging impact of commercially produced alcohol on health and social wellbeing in relation to economic security. Since pre-apartheid times, South African black women did not only have systems of oppression such as segregation to resist, but the stronghold of patriarchy and the violences it resulted in. “Gender-based violence is often linked to patterns of patriarchy and systems of oppression that are in accord with those found during the colonial period in South Africa. The patterns of exploitation did not end with colonialism but were extended within the apartheid system of white-minority rule.” (Hannah Britton 2006:148) These violences worsened during apartheid making it an even more dangerous and vulnerable place to live in as black women. I argue that the previously mentioned forms of violence are issues that we still grapple with today which have taken a more subtle and insidious form and therefore have lost some sense of urgency. It is this urgency that I am trying to re-ignite through my works. This narrative is told from the experiences of the resilient and resistant black women in my family but not forgetting the other black women with whom I have crossed paths.