n Image & Text : a Journal for Design - Nation-building-premises in Freedom Park, South Africa

Volume 2012, Issue 19
  • ISSN : 1020-1491



The South African Department of Arts and Culture initiated several legacy and heritage projects post-apartheid, referring to the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission - one of those being Freedom Park. By materialising governmentality within a monument, a certain notion of belonging is constructed: a sense of belonging to a national community which is valorised by sacrificial death and naturalised culture, embodied in the architecture of the created public space. The built environment and the guided tours both point to a performativity of spirituality: 'cleansing and healing-ceremonies' are part of a policy which tries to reconcile memories through strategic commemoration practices. With reference to Foucault's idea of 'heterotopia', I will argue that Freedom Park can be read as both an illusory space and at the same time a perfect arrangement of select societal structures as compensation for former injustices.

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