Maps are helpful in understanding the spatial and planning politics of a space. In a city like Cape Town, the lines that divide are distinct. Areas of differing socio-economic status are firmly divided by highways, train lines and the mountain. These boundary lines are direct products of apartheid’s segregated city planning and forced removals project. In this way, Cape Town’s city planning continues to isolate and alienate the working class who must traverse multiple boundary lines to reach places of work, education, and even leisure, continuing the legacy of apartheid in the city.
Some of the places pinned on this map, such as the Iziko Slave Lodge and Castle of Good Hope, are widely and formally recognised historical sites that memorialise their histories. In an attempt to ‘uncover’, this map also pins lesser known sites of history and memory and, in so doing, seeks to question the criteria for memorialisation: whose histories get memorialised? whose memories are written into history?
As our map focuses on the legacies of enslaved labour in the Cape, much of the locations we’ve pinned are in the historical centre and now central business district of the city. Whilst we acknowledge that the legacy of slavery in the Cape reaches far beyond the locations pinned, here, it is a start to an enquiry into uncovering the hidden histories of the city.
Mirroring the format of the symposium, each curator has added a layer of locations corresponding to their symposium segment. Carine Zaayman’s annotations reflect on spaces tied to Dutch colonial occupation and the historical narratives they enable in the present day. Nina Liebenberg traces the various botanical markers that speak of the colonial history of the city, such as a wedge from a tree in Church Square under which enslaved people were reputedly bought and sold, the Trafalgar Place Flower Market, and the Company’s Gardens. Jade Nair considers labour associated with the fashion industry, including clothing production by enslaved women, 20th century street-style photography and contemporary clothing and textile factory workers.
To access these annotations, please click on the top-left icon of the map.