An African Tale of the Mother City

By philip
10 July 2013

Cape Town is a city with many stories to tell – some told, some untold and some that remain hidden.

An African Tale of the Mother City re-surfaces a forgotten story about how groups of women and men living in places like Modderdam, Crossroads, Nyanga Bush and KTC during the late 1970s and early 1980s fought with bravery and tenacity for the right of African people to live with their families and work freely in the Western Cape. A battle they took on with remarkable political ingenuity (at times literally putting their bodies on the line) in the face of an apartheid government that used an arsenal of laws, the police, the army and, eventually, vigilantes to fight against them.

After a decade framed by protracted land invasions, community resistance, negotiations and piece meal concessions, the government was forced to concede. The result was the abolition of influx control measures and setting aside of land for the development of a new African township, even though these were still on the margins of the city.

The exhibition, fore-grounded by the story of a group of Nyanga Bush ‘squatters’ that fasted for 23 days in St. George’s Cathedral during March/April 1982, reveals the deep pain, suffering and structural violence African women and men experienced at a particular moment in Cape Town’s social history.

An African Tale of the Mother City exhibition pays tribute to ordinary people, especially women, who with courage, vigour and savvy claimed and won the right for all African people to live and find a sense of place and belonging in Cape Town.

WHERE: The travelling exhibition opens at the District Six Museum Home Coming Centre, 15A Buitenkant Street, Cape Town

WHEN: from Saturday 13 to 30 July, 2013.

INFO: contact the District Museum for group bookings on 021-466 7200.

Mapmyway supports WDC2014 and has been shortlisted as an official submission for Cape Town World Design Capital 2014.