REGROUNDING, CAPE TOWN, 2022
Ramutloa, George; 19 July 1915. A labourer, run over by a wagon while stationed in Kalkfeldt, Namibia. Makhaleyane, Maeil; 15 April 1916. An ox-driver, died on board the SS Aragon following an infection of Malaria, after serving in East Africa. Jenniker, Dolly, and Madhliwa, Zulu; 23 January 1915. Two labourers, drowned during boat service on the flooded Orange River near Upington. During World War I, thousands of Black South Africans enlist for non-combatant service around the African continent Their stories untold, unremembered, uncommemorated; their graves scattered, or non-existent. 1650 names brought to the surface from a deep dive into the archive. How many more will emerge?
Displaced to the Company’s Gardens in the Table Valley in Cape Town, a historically contested territory. In conversation with the longstanding Delville Wood Memorial. Colonial geographies are engaged. The memorial disrupts the geometry of the colonial gardens with a single curved line in the grass, from which a series of tilted planes are articulated. New ramped pathways are carved to navigate topographic tensions. Indigenous fynbos reclaims the manicured landscape. Arranged shoulder-to-shoulder to form a large ellipse, the names of the fallen are sandblasted into individual black stone slats, and stitched into the landscape. Unsettled ground, settled.
Gently shaped ground.
Earth, stone, and memory.