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Cape Flats Details: Life and culture in the townships of Cape Town

Cape Flats Details: Life and culture in the townships of Cape Town

  • R 50000


Cape Flats Details: Life and culture in the townships of Cape Town

A rich collection of vivid photographs, capturing images of the homes, cultures, people, and streets of the communities of the Cape Flats. Working during the late 1980s, Ledochowski highlights the vibrant cultures of the area. "Cape Flats" refers to the vast stretch of exposed sandy wetlands that lie north of Table Mountain and which now forms a large part of the metropolitan region of Cape Town. Racked by the harsh south-easter and frequently flooded in winter, the Cape Flats is highly unsuitable for residential purposes. But today it has become home to close on a million people. It was here that the apartheid government forcefully removed and restricted the non white population of Cape Town under the Group Areas Act. The creation of the 'Townships', defined by the Oxford Dictionary as "planned urban settlements of Black Africans or Coloreds", represented apartheid's attempt to plan, control, and regulate the lives of the Black majority. Far from being simply art-for-art's sake, much of this creativity is essentially functional and inextricably linked to the social fabric of the townships. For example, a decorative mural is on a wall that holds up a house; an artistic shebeen sign points people to a place of social activity; a display of religious paraphernalia provides the setting for a "home church". This documentary project was in no way an attempt at appropriating cultural artifacts from the townships. The creativity explored here does not offer any catalogue of township art available in the city's art galleries or craft markets, nor should it be read as an itinerary for an authentic township tour. It is rather an attempt to respectfully reveal aspects of our township culture that have hitherto remained largely hidden as peoples' protected spaces. The art and culture of the Colored townships express the dispossession of an urban population both Christian and Muslim communities that were systematically broken up and forcibly moved from Cape Town and its suburbs to the dumping grounds of the CapeFlats. Removed from the relative comfort and security of the city to hostile dormitory townships faced with overcrowding, unemployment, crime, and poverty, these communities were stripped of their heritage and experienced enormous alienation. In this hostile township environment, street gang culture spread like wildfire. The American gangster lifestyle promoted by popular media, together with local gang subcultures and prison gang codes of ethics, have provided sources of identity for a lost generation of youth. The creativity found in the Colored townships reflects all of these experiences and dynamics, while at the same time drawing heavily on traditional cultural and religious identities.

Author      Chris Ledochowski
ISBN        0620304588, 9780620304580
Format     Paperback
Pages      210p.


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