In these constructed images a shelter is inserted into various locales across the City – from the highways and railways lines that act as boundaries of exclusion or inclusion, to shack settlements, historical sites, affluent areas and the globally recognized marketing facades.
The juxtaposing of these images with text attempts to highlight the discrepancies within the City and seeks to challenge dominant misrepresentations of the city and to foreground its social divisions.
As with written historical texts, the contemporary application of cyber space serves as a site of colonization and contestation. Numerous websites, blogs and other social media platforms offer a sanitized, nostalgic and parochial view of the city.
Space Invader! will thus be insinuated into these privileged domains in an attempt to transpose and subvert these sterile representations of the city and to query the conventional understanding of histories as well as to question who and what is alien and ultimately to establish a discourse about who belongs and who does not.
Through the shelters’ fictitious and subversive reinsertion into recognizable cityscapes – with its seemingly disconnected captions that draw upon present day as well as historical texts referencing forced removals, land dispossession and other dislocations – this series of images seeks to draw attention to accounts of deletion, and to imaginatively reinsert the most humble of shelters back into the historical record and spaces it once legitimately occupied.
Following the expulsion of the Xhosa chief Ndlambe and some 20,000 of his followers from the Zuurveld in 1811, the British government at the Cape was able to proceed with their plans for the colonization of this region. However, the original residents of the area were not so understanding and made repeated efforts to return to their ancestral lands. In an attempt to “maintain order” Governor Sir John Cradock decided to station the Cape Hottentot Corps in the Zuurveld. Initially the Commander of the Regiment, Colonel John Graham, decided to establish his headquarters on the loan farm Noutoe, now known as Table Farm, but at the recommendation of Ensign Andries Stockenstrom it was moved to the homestead of the loanfarm De Rietfontein, belonging to Lucas Meyer. Construction on the new headquarters, located on the site of the present Church Square, began in June 1812, and was named by Governor Cradock after Colonel Graham. Initially it was planned to develop Grahamstown as the new headquarters for the Hottentot Corps. Plans for the village were drawn up in 1814, and the first plots were sold by public auction the following year. However after it became the seat of the Landdrost of Albany, both its character and demographic make-up changed considerably.
“The animals that liberated most of the other animals were the pigs. After a period of time, the pigs started to feel that we liberated you, we deserve better, and after time the pigs started to eat more than the others… [the pigs] do all of the thinking, they do all of the coordination, they liberated all of the animals, they deserve to be fed better. And the rules started changing imperceptibly overnight… it used to say that all animals are equal, then suddenly, it said some are more equal than others.”
In 1887 Cecil John Rhodes told the House of Assembly in Cape Town that “the native is to be treated as a child and denied franchise. We must adopt a system of despotism in our relations with the barbarians of South Africa”… Or put more bluntly: “I prefer land to niggers.”
This is a man who “connived his way to wealth in a lawless frontier culture”, then used that fortune to fund a private invasion of East Africa. He bought newspapers in order to shape and control public opinion; he brokered secret deals, issued bribes and used gangs of mercenaries to butcher his opponents and in the process seized close to a million square miles of territory from its inhabitants.
No wonder why psychos like Spengler and Hitler were fans…. It’s about time that we topple the lies!
“…was allowed to claim as his property, till the age of five-and-twenty, all the children of the Hottentots in his service to whom he had given in their infancy a morsel of meat.” (Barrow, vol. I, 1801: 146 – 47) – Circa 2013.
“The history of white colonial land dispossession dates back to the expansion of the Dutch colonial settlement in the Cape…”
“Land was seized from the Khoikhoi and later the San to increase Dutch grazing pastures, expand their farming activities and to establish settlements.”
“The Cape government was flustered by his exposé but unwilling to incur the necessary expenditure…” Circa 2013
“Over time, the increasing lack of access to grazing pastures by the Khoikhoi gave rise to conflict with the Dutch.”
“The ruinous practices of these invaders destroyed the resources of the land.” Circa 2010
“A worthwhile speculation is that the prevalence of hunting on the frontier coupled with the dehumanization of San helped break the taboo trekboers might have had against the taking of human life.” Circa 1701
“It is within this mass of humanity, this people of the shanty towns, at the core of the lumpen-proletariat, that the rebellion will find its urban spearhead.” – Frantz Fanon.
“The belt will be so densely overgrown that it will be impossible for cattle and sheep to be driven through and it will take the form of a protective fence…” (Jan van Riebeeck’s diary as quoted in Worden et al, p. 25)
“All of this that God bequeathed to me, now no longer belongs to me…”
“Their muted profit motive, however, did little to mitigate the ultimate fate of hunter-gatherer peoples on the Cape frontier.” Circa 1679
“Their arrogance and their monopoly on truth, beauty and moral judgement taught them to despise native customs and traditions and to seek to infuse their own new values into these societies.” Steve Biko
“The violent, total demands which lit up the sky now become modest, and withdraw into themselves.” Frantz Fanon.
“The VOC allocates land to Dutch settlers beyond the Cape Flats to increase agricultural production. Land allocated becomes increasingly larger as farmers needed to also graze their livestock. This deprives Khoikhoi even more of their grazing pastures.”
“Hatred as an element of the struggle; a relentless hatred of the enemy, impelling us over and beyond the natural limitations that man is heir to and transforming him into an effective, violent, selective and cold killing machine. Our soldiers must be thus; a people without hatred cannot vanquish a brutal enemy.” – Che Guevara