n Image & Text : a Journal for Design - 'See Pretoria through new eyes' : modernism, memory, and the apartheid city

Volume 25, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1020-1491



This essay starts out with a reflection on a 1996 advertisement for Pretoria, featuring twelve images of Nelson Mandela in different costumes, each representing a tourist site or leisure activity in the city. It goes on to argue, however, that the pleasurable 'seeing Pretoria with new eyes' the advertisement touts is not all that is required fora new interdisciplinary scholarly account of the city's history : we need to consider the complexities, or even confusions at stake in apartheid-era Pretoria, a city that was-like apartheid itself-both aggressively modern and retrograde. As an instigation for further scholarship, the essay offers some reflections on Pretoria's built environment and, drawing on the work of memory, suggests what it was like for a young person to navigate the disconcerting-almost uncanny-nature of the city in the years right before the Soweto uprising

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