For coloured forced removees, who all seem to tell similar stories, remaining collectively faithful to one particular version of the past, the experience of trauma has had a major impact on the way that they remember the past. In this next section, I will tentatively explore the role that trauma and loss play in defining removee memory. But how does it deal with the experience of trauma? How does memory operate when individuals and social groups live through or witness events that can disrupt the psyche?
I must start with a note on lexical choices. The word trauma, a term that I would like to use here, is problematic for the fact that it carries a popular metaphorical meaning and a narrow clinical meaning. Unfortunately, their definitions do not coincide. To describe the forced removals of South Africans as a traumatic event in their history is a reasonable statement in popular discourse.
Indeed, the impact that this experience has had on their lives is total—it has transformed their senses of self and even structured the very shape of their memory. It hints at, but does not determine, a level of psychic distress that must have come with such an experience. But others are incapable of weaving these experiences into the fabric of their remembered life histories. For certainly, suffering and coping are subjective experiences, conditioned by a range of interior variables and available scripts. However, while this precision in terminology may be crucial for psychologists who must treat their patients according to a proper diagnosis, for the rest of us who study the impact of horrendous historical events on society, we lose a powerful and popularly resonant resource if we abandon this term for describing the experiences of those who lived through it.
While it is important that the clinical definition remains viable, we must also insist that this politically and morally loaded term be available for discussions of historical and social experiences. They do not mean it in a clinical sense, most of the time, but rather metaphorically. For them, the event in itself—its very constitution—was traumatic not just their subjective response. It is precisely because of its psychological associations, though, that the word carries so much weight in discussions of compensation and collective memory. Thus it makes sense to use this shared vocabulary to analyze the experiences of removees, even though I am straying from clinical usage.
Of course, it hinders efforts to create a conflict-free vocabulary where every word has a precise meaning in an uncontestable domain, but perhaps this is not the ultimate goal of scholarship anyway. In this study, I will freely refer to the Group Areas evictions as a traumatic event in the lives of forced removees. It is the only word that does justice to the sufferings they endured through the mass relocations. Another reason for retaining the word trauma in its state of multi-layered tension is to call attention to the fact that, even though people may be able to narrativize their experiences, the memory of that trauma may still have a determining impact on the constitution of their memories.
Traumatic experiences, such as rape, abduction, the loss of a loved one, or the loss of a community, can have an overwhelming influence on how memories relate to each other along a life history narrative trajectory. Instead of the trauma being merely assimilated to the life history narrative, the narrative itself takes shape around the massive traumatic presence. In analyzing the collection of interviews in the Fortunoff Video Archive at Yale University, Langer proposes that there are different types of memory that describe Jewish survivor recollections.
The painful memories are always there, sometimes in a speakable form, but never reconciled to any integrated sense of self. There was no prior schema to prepare them for it; yet they are still able to speak about it, if haltingly. What these memories show us is that people can indeed remember and not just repeat or relive seemingly unspeakable horrors; they can even narrate them.
But speech here offers none of the traditional healing properties that it does for so many other forms of grief. With this in mind, I want to suggest that we can view trauma as something that may have no end point; that memory of trauma can coexist with narrative and become part of it, and still remain unresolved. As we shall see with coloured forced removees, the trauma of eviction continues to act on their memory, even though they are able to speak candidly about their experiences.
The trauma they endured which was far less damaging than the Jewish Holocaust has acted to structure their ability to remember. But if trauma is a subjective experience, one that each individual faces differently, is it possible to speak of collective trauma? There is a spiritual kinship there, a sense of identity, even when feelings of affection are deadened and the ability to care numbed.
While the government was successful in destroying the communities that people had lived in, new affinities, based on the common experience of eviction, developed in the townships where people were randomly dumped. Removees relied on other removees to validate the pain of their experiences, to offer a safe space for the sharing of hurts and hopes, and the mutual constitution of a narrative that would be able to cover the emotions of loss and grief for their homes and communities. Somehow just knowing that another had gone through the same loss, grief, and pain as oneself, was many times enough to inspire trust and exchange.
The shared background of eviction creates a bond of mutual understanding, at least concerning this important event. Shared experiences, especially those forged through trauma, can bring people together in powerful ways, even constituting a new sense of identity. First, trauma is an emotionally devastating experience linked to loss or injury. That loss can be in the form of a loved one, a cherished ideal, a house, a community, an opportunity, or some other object of affection. The injury can by either physical or psychic. The traumatic loss or injury leads to feelings of shock, despair, numbness grief, anger, distraction, melancholy, or any other such debilitating emotion.
They confide in people they trust. And they create stories and memories to account for how important the loss was to them, how important their relationship to that object was. At some level, people seek to share their pain so that it is acknowledged and validated. If others have faced this same trauma—as was the case in Cape Town concerning forced removals—people seek out fellow victims to commiserate with and also offer comfort to.
There is a ready understanding that abides between these survivors, and together they may even form a new type of community: a narrative community. Collective Memory The scene requires some imagination. During that period, they were either already removed, in the process of being removed, or under the threat of removal. They were far away from work, in a strange and most say dangerous environment, amongst people they did not know.
Many arrived before the townships were complete: no roads, no lights, no services. Around them were other people who had applied to be in these new townships: recent rural arrivals and former shanty-dwellers who were happy to finally get council houses. Removees were the ones who did not want to be there.
Nothing was familiar, the old support networks were broken. For the newly dispossessed, their arrival in the township was almost as disappointing as leaving their old homes. But they had to build new communities and forge new friendships; and over the years, that is what they have done. They found that they were not alone in their victimization, that they were part of a larger group of people targeted for dispersal.
For the first time in some of their lives, they met coloureds from other parts of the peninsula, from little villages and dorpies that they had never been to. Eviction brought them all together, equally burdened by loss and grief. In this context, removees shared stories about the old times with each other. They stylized personal anecdotes that would fit into the themes deemed worthy to discuss. They established a flexible and consensual framework for remembering their lost communities.
Testing the limits of narrative representation was a slow and negotiated affair. Elements of culture, or cultural complexes, pass from person to person within a group, or from group to group, and, eventually reaching a thoroughly conventionalized form, may take an established place in the general mass of culture processed by a specific group. In cases where the past is a sensitive subject due to trauma, it is necessary to establish guidelines for the construction of memories that will be appropriate for dealing with such a subject matter.
Grieving parents tend to focus on what was good about that child, what made the relationship so important in their lives. And if others dared to dishonor the memory of the child with recollections of bad behavior or anti-social transgressions in a way that might question the value of the relationship the parents had with the child, those recollectors would face social penalties on the order of disapproval, scorn, rejection, or broken social ties. Through negotiation and compromise, they developed a shared sense of how to remember.
For coloured removees, torn from their homes and communities, removed to the same spatial locations, given the same racial identity, and subject to the same racially-tailored laws: these sorts of experiential congruities, coupled with the need to share their grief of loss, and the desire to resist their persecutors, places them under of a constellation of social forces which help shape their memory.
And as we have seen, it is narrative that presents this capacity for shared structures. A common cultural resource, narrative offers a powerful tool for people to share their pain and desires in an understandable way. It allows removees to attach moral meaning to the events in their lives as well. For removees too, narrative investment gives opportunities for healing themselves and connecting to others. The needs that are addressed through narrative help dictate the terms by which collective memory is built.
The first and primary need to address in a memory narrative is the present. Issues that confront people today play a determining role in the type of memories they will evoke. People do not bring up the past for its own sake; memories are marshaled in an instrumental fashion to serve present needs.
And when people assemble life histories, they do so with current concerns in mind. These matters operate like themes in their narratives, broad social categories of meaning that they can speak to through their own memories. Present-day themes act like cues for identifying the appropriate memories for recall in a life history. This theme offers a socially acceptable basis for comparison between what they once had and what now have.
The distinction illustrates their attachment to the communities they were severed from. The present is ever-shifting, of course, and new social developments trigger new memories. Conjuring memories of the past helps make sense of the changing present. Thus the memories of a generation or social group change over time, influenced by contemporary needs. But the effect of these changes should be qualified.
Even if biological reasons did not require such A function as evaporation vessels has been suggested for procurement, other reasons as outlined above did. After working for architecture and design firms in Barcelona and Berlin, she opened her own studio in Milan in In , and , she featured on the AD list of talents compiled by Architectural Digest. Perceptive, humane and pointed. Conn is, however, the son who has been singled out from birth as the one to move beyond the manual labour of his father and brothers, through education. Aged 11, Lucia started to attend a lace school run by nuns after which she followed a Veneto region training course.
New themes may emerge, but they might only serve to bolster up the prevailing message in the life history narrative. For example, as I am slowly making clear, removees present the past as good and the present as bad, to put it crudely. This dichotomy between two moralized epochs past and present can include new themes without changing the meaning of this split. If crime suddenly stopped being a concern, and a new issue arose in its place say, homelessness , the new issue would merely join the ranks of the other issues and be moralized in the same fashion.
All of this is a round-about way of saying that attitudes shape what kinds of memories are constructed. They certainly predetermine the meaning attached to each memory. The constant rationalization which remembering effects is a special case of the functioning of this constructive character upon which memory is largely based. On the basis of these two insights—that memories are largely presentist and morally loaded—I want to suggest that we now have the materials for what could be a narrative structure for collective memory.
It is built out of present-day themes and a predetermined moral trajectory relating all memories together coherently for the sake of providing meaning. The themes identify what content will be recollected and the moral trajectory designates how they will be recollected. For a social group forged through the fire of trauma and dumped in the same spatial locale, a collective memory of this order is possible.
Ultimately, however, I cannot argue for the conception of collective memory on a purely theoretical or abstract basis. I must persuade through demonstration. Thus, my musings in this chapter have only been to gesture at the importance of trauma in the development of collective memory in Cape Town. What comes next is the hard data that will show how these abstract concepts take flesh. There was a lot of them in that one road. And opposite that road was Upper Constitution, then you get Cauvin Road, right through. And on that side of the road, there stayed European people.
But we all spent it together. We were all friends. We were all friends, like families. Even that white people, they come down from there, then they come down to visit us and we go over to them. And we were close. It is a portrait that is tenderly evoked, and with some pride, no doubt, for its obvious uniqueness. In a city that is currently one of the most racially segregated in South Africa, this is a striking image indeed.
What other memories might they share in common? Up to now, I have been trying to provide the necessary background information for approaching the core of my argument. I have described the historical context of the Group Areas removals in Cape Town and offered a model of memory and narrative that is suitable for analyzing a social group that has experienced traumatic loss. Now we can move on to the actual memories that coloured forced removees proffer and try to understand the conditions under which they are produced.
After this macro-treatment, we will gradually narrow down from the collective level to a communal level chapter 6 and then on down to the individual level ch. In this way, we will be able to see, through a variety of lenses, the way in which memories are shared and contested, mobilized and suppressed. For one particular cluster of common memories, we have to go back to the time of dispossession to understand how they were first generated and then later maintained.
We will see that the struggle between the apartheid government and coloureds during the long removal period was an essential component in the development of certain memories. The Public Transcript As mentioned earlier, memory is sensitive to relations of social power, responsive to changes in context, and re-constructed in dynamic ways to serve particular agendas. There is a strategic element to memory, one that we are not usually aware of in our own experience of remembering. We see our own memories as merely the truth, not mediated by political power, not structured by contemporary concerns, and certainly not straight-jacketed by opposing discursive forces.
While his work does not specifically concern memory, his description of the process of narrative production under conditions of oppression and inequality has bearing for our discussion of coloured memory which I will highlight in this chapter. Through time, the transcript is altered to fit changing conditions and adjust for specific projects of domination that the elites attempt to inaugurate. In both cases, these publicly circulated justifications acted as screens behind which the performance of domination took place.
The public transcript, then, is the discursive apparatus accompanying the task of exploitation. They are inseparable aspects of the same project. They question the foundations on which their domination is achieved and fantasize about a reversal of roles. Counter Memory 61 Because they are in relationships of inequality with elites, who usually hold a monopoly on coercive force, they face constraints on the freedom they have to publicly reveal their transcript. Thus, the development of this vision from below takes place away from the surveillance of elite power in the relative safety of peer groups and like-minded discontents.
Amongst themselves, the subordinate groups construct and circulate oral transcripts that reject the degrading terms of their subjugation, attempting to salvage a sense of pride, dignity, and self-worth, despite their condition. The public transcript which accompanies domination produces an altogether alterior transcript by the oppressed, one which directly counters it. What is important to note here is that the public transcript has a structuring effect on the hidden transcript.
The response by subordinates is not arbitrary, but rather is directly concerned with the issues raised in the dominant discourse. Problems raised in the public transcript are squarely treated in the underground discourse. While his model—that of a hidden underground discourse developing in response to but not necessarily effecting the dominant one—may be fully relevant in certain cases, what we have in Cape Town is the production of a transcript by the subjugated coloured majority that is not completely hidden. During the years of Group Areas engineering in the Cape peninsula it was articulated in varying degrees of assertiveness and known again, in varying degrees by the ruling class.
These statements, from both opposing sides, we have record of. What follows is in an exploration of the public transcript as deployed by the government through newspaper reports, Group Areas Board hearings, publications, speeches, and memoranda. Coupled to that is a look at the counter transcript as developed in response by coloureds through newspaper reports, Group Areas Board hearings, and interviews carried out over the past 15 years by other researchers. Lastly, we will see how this historical exchange, informed by the real physical effects of residential relocation, has structured a counter memory that continues to this day.
Along the way, we will learn how a particular cluster of memories came to cohere amongst coloured forced removees from across the peninsula. The government gave a host of justifications for dispossessing people for the purposes of Group Areas in Cape Town. Each of the plus-thirty locales in the peninsula targeted for eviction was home to unique and particular socio-economic and material conditions, though many of them had similarities. For instance, District Six and Claremont had an urban character; Goodwood and Lansdowne were characterized by large residential plots on open plains; and Protea Village and Constantia had a rural quality.
These factors played a role in determining the public relations campaign mounted by the government against each area, but during the period of removals, a canon of justifications was developed and promoted for the relocation operation. Inter alia, this canon consisted of four statements declaring why removals were necessary: 1 interracial interaction breeds conflict; 2 coloureds live in overcrowded, unhygienic slum conditions which demand clearance in accordance with public health policy and modern city planning; 3 criminal activities are prevalent in majority-coloured locales; and 4 public morality is challenged by the presence of any of the previously stated conditions, leading to gambling, drinking, prostitution, and noise-making.
Interracial Interaction. Throughout South Africa, the largest single justification for Group Areas was ideological. The National Party, which was voted into power in , proclaimed that it would found its rule on strict racial separation in all spheres. Though segregation had long existed in the Union, this party, made up primarily of conservative Afrikaner males, codified racial separation through copious laws and extended its reach through a modernized bureaucracy. The ideology and its accompanying policies were called apartheid. Why else? Because different races were considered to be inherently in conflict with each other and their interaction was a threat to the maintenance of social order.
When races were allowed to mix or mingle, friction was the inevitable outcome. Consider the words of the minister of the interior, introducing the Group Areas bill to Parliament in , where he stated that the Group Areas policy: is designed to eliminate friction between the races in the Union because we believe, and believe strongly, that points of contact—all unnecessary points of contact—between the races must be avoided.
If you reduce the number of points of contact to the minimum, you reduce the possibility of friction. The result of putting people of different races together is to cause racial trouble. In the prosecution of Group Areas in Cape Town, the justification for racial zoning based on the grammar of race friction was common. While offering an opportunity for coloureds and others to register their displeasure at the idea of Group Areas and any notion that they might be dispossessed, it also gave the government yet another forum for publicizing the rationale behind its policy.
The minutes of those meetings, located in the Cape Town Archives, give an idea of the lengths the National Party went to justify its policies. In the official mind, as P. Never before has there been such concentrated goodwill. This had been given a specific group character when the government declared the area white because it believed it to be in the interests of the coloured and other groups that they be concentrated elsewhere in the townships.
But if conflict was seen to result from inter-racial interaction, then a host of other problems were thought to follow as well. The most important concern was the notion that an area that was racially mixed would fall into physical decline. It is ideologically self-evident.
Not all coloured neighborhoods were racially mixed, however, so the friction theory could not be applied to these areas for eviction. In this vision, space is tied up with function; everyone and everything, like units on a grid, is assigned a function and allocated a space. A person under this system should comply with the functional requirements of the space they are allowed to occupy. If you are on a sidewalk, you walk; a street, you drive; a factory, you work; a neighborhood, you reside; a park, you play; and so on.
And if you are white, you stay in the designated white areas while coloureds stay in coloured areas. That way, there is no tension, no conflict, because everyone is playing their allocated role in the society as determined by the rulers. Anomalies, failures, and dysfunction read: protests, riots, boycotts can be isolated and treated accordingly, especially if space is strategically allocated.
It is important to stress the popularity of this discourse in apartheid city planning, for it was used extensively in justifying the removal of coloureds from their homes. Under its banner was the most effective discursive work done to promote Group Areas. Many of the neighborhoods where coloureds lived were subject to the negative appraisal by various officials and committees who pronounced on Group Areas affairs. The standard of living was regarded as low as there was no running water, no electricity, no sewage outlets, etc.
In Goodwood, Courtesy of Parow Museum the Minister of the Group Areas Board spoke about the benefits coloureds would enjoy in their new homes in the townships. This was the largest target site of the removals in the peninsula, demanding over 15 years to complete the clearance of the coloureds. Courtesy of District Six Museum Alfred Honikman, Mayor of Cape Town in the early s, presided over massive surveys of the District so as to ascertain what rehabilitation measures might be necessary.
No developed area was in greater need of rehabilitation. In , C. By the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries District VI had degenerated into a densely populated and overcrowded slum, occupied in by about 40, people mainly Coloured and Bantu. Since then the process of physical deterioration proceeded while industries later intruded…. Seen from a cultural-historical point of view the area was thus initially a good and respectable residential area which in the course of only a century or more was reduced to a slum.
A prime objective of the Renewal Scheme is therefore the restoration of District VI, albeit in a new milieu, to the place it held in the early history of the City, namely a desirable and convenient residential area serving the needs of a stable section of the population [read: whites] who wish to be closely connected with the central city. Certain urbanized areas in Cape Town were known through the media as places of criminality, gangsterism and violence.
What I want to stress as well is that it was not unconnected to the previously mentioned arguments in the public transcript. Most citizens agreed that a reduction in crime, anywhere, was desirable, but few coloureds thought of their own neighborhoods as having the requisite level of criminality to justify such a massive response. A little more policing perhaps, but eviction? Crime was presented by the government and media as the inevitable result of slum conditions and all the moral vices that followed. Great attention was placed on District Six where the largest concentration of coloureds lived.
Many newspaper writers, otherwise sympathetic to the plight of coloureds under the threat of removals, unwittingly reinforced this particular justification as they provided story after story on crime in the area. As early as , in an Corner boys in District Six. It is a reputation that has been largely built by the anti-social elements such as the gangs of skollies, the shebeeners, dagga smugglers and the drunks.
In , while the National Party considered the option of declaring District Six a white or coloured area, many opinions were offered on both sides. What no one disagreed on, at least in the newspapers, however, was that the area was full of criminality. The government, in fact, did not investigate the issue of gangs in District Six; it did not say anything new on the matter, but rather just agreed with white consensus in the city.
If coloureds continued to be criminals after evictions, even producing the highest crime statistics in the world, then the removals was doubly-justified. The government did not blame itself nor its removal policy for coloured crime in the townships: it congratulated itself on removing that threat to a safe distance, away from white residency and industry. If the image of coloured criminality held sway in urban areas, it was also available in more rural places.
The Board accepted these remarks, as is shown in their deliberations. Only in their own locations would their true racial character be revealed if positive or contained if negative. Dressed in the garb of Christian Nationalism, this line of puritanical reasoning put a pseudo-religious stamp on the whole proceeding. This general argument which suffused the public transcript was not terribly crucial in pressing for the social engineering project, but it should be seen as supporting the other justifications together and adding yet another moral dimension to the removals project.
It was an assault on the dignity of coloured persons who were already branded as mongrel, slum-dwelling criminals. Are they not entitled to a new start, another chance? Or is sentiment going to keep them in a slum? It sounds cynical and strategic for the purposes of domination. In National Party circles, it was a given that inter-racial interaction was immoral, especially if there was a sexual component to that interaction hence, the Immorality Act. And since most coloured people lived in some degree of proximity to white people and interacted with them on whatever terms were locally established, the government vilified that situation as leading to immorality.
Thus, the question of coloured morality should not be separated from the previously mentioned points of the public transcript. Immorality was just the natural outgrowth of the presence of any of the other conditions. For that reason, I will not treat the issue of morality in any great detail as it is built on the edifice of the other three principle arguments.
This association of immorality with the other three public transcript justifications is vaguely expressed, but always lurking in the background. For that reason, we will only look at the first three primary justifications from here on out, as morality was an embedded property of the others.
It was rarely distinct as a justification. Counter Memory 77 The Counter Transcript The public transcript may have been the discursive wing of the Group Areas intervention, but it was not a monologue delivered to a passive audience. For their part, instead of merely accepting the logic of the public transcript, coloureds developed a robust counter transcript which rejected the grounds of their eviction. Their arguments were conditioned by the terms of the public transcript and their responses dealt seriously with the statements made by the rulers.
The justifications given by the government were argued against at Group Areas hearings, in newspaper articles, and in scholarly interviews, as people tried to secure continued access to their homes. The counter and the hidden were part of the same process. If the government established the arguments by which this project of domination was to be achieved, then coloureds utilized the same reference points for driving home their reasons for keeping the status quo, residentially speaking.
As coloureds mobilized arguments to keep their homes, they first challenged the ideological foundations of apartheid—the friction theory—by pointing out how friendly their relations were with people of other races. Racial and religious friction is virtually unknown. This harmony must be preserved. If the area is left as it is, I am sure that the harmony will be preserved. Brown, summed up the feelings of the District Six community which had been forced out before her.
But then the Group divided us all. They were not alone in promoting this image. Material Conditions. The counter transcript against the persistent depiction of coloured living areas as slums was both hidden and overt. Thus, coloureds did not challenge the idea of modernization in itself, but just the idea that their particular homes were in need of such intervention.
They did this in two ways: publicly describing the good standing of their homes to state representatives; and privately complaining about how inferior their new township houses were in comparison to their former ones. When the government held meetings on the fate of each area, the Group Areas Board later called the Community Development Board allowed residents to voice their opinions on the matter. They challenged the notion that their homes were in need of modernization with a number of arguments, some historical, some developmental.
That since the early pioneering days, these men and women have successfully cleared the bush, drained the swamps, and eradicated the snakes, lizards and harmful insects, and have converted the area into a decent habitable one. That the residents have invested their life savings in the construction of houses that met with the most stringent building regulations of the council of the City of Cape Town. That most of the houses in the area measure up to the most modern standards.
That certain structures have been erected by residents not more than three months ago. These were not squatters waiting for whites to provide a place of shelter for them—no, they were pioneers who made District Six housing. Courtesy of District Six Museum the place habitable for all races. In a similar instance in Goodwood, a man said that it was the coloured pioneers who tamed the open bush making it hospitable for themselves and also for the many whites that only later moved in [find source]. But if they did not take the opportunity to voice their opinions to the government, they did so elsewhere.
The last remaining family on one street in District Six was interviewed by the Cape Argus. Solomon, 43, she has asked that her real name be withheld for fear of victimization was born in District Six and has lived there all her life. But what can you do. The council houses are so small. How are we, with our eight children, going to fit in one of them? The rooms are so small you can hardly move. It is an implicit comparison, subtle, but perceptible. Overcrowding is now going to be a problem; the size of the rooms is now going to be a problem. She implies that these were not issues for her in District Six.
Later, as she and the reporter watch construction workers renovate some of the existing properties in the area, she says that if renovation through paint and plaster is all that the government wanted, the coloured families could have done this themselves. Using crime and gangs as a justification for removals was limited to certain urbanized areas like District Six and lower Claremont, though white residents of Goodwood, Parow, and Lansdowne also made representations at Group Areas Board hearings stating that coloured men were menacing the white children in the neighborhood.
The counter transcript, initially, remained half-developed on this issue, as it was only partially clear that crime, gangs, and reputation were being used as a justification for removals. Nasima Ebrahim was forced out of District Six, but wrote a long farewell letter in a city newspaper recounting some of the memories she would take away from there. Her letter resembles the life histories I tape-recorded from coloured removees. While most of her reminiscence is about sweet, happy memories, the counter transcript is apparent.
She described Friday evening socials at her school, which were fun for everyone. There were no knife-wielding or undesirable elements to take the joy out of our evening stroll. But the one woman whom he quotes in his analysis refuses to describe these characters as gangsters. Removees in the townships spoke of how much better it was back in District Six, and people still awaiting removal spoke of how awful it will be in the townships because of the gangs. Since evictions took over two decades to accomplish, the development of a counter transcript that incorporated a reading of the township conditions was inevitable.
For many, the most damning reversal of government justifications was to show how the townships, the very places that the government claimed would save coloureds from the gangsterism of their homes, were worse in terms of crime than the homes they had stayed in. This becomes particularly apparent as transcripts turned into memory.
The dynamics of that exchange, of the discursive opposition engendered through it, have had a telling effect on the way coloured removees continue to recollect their past. The fact that the Group Areas project is finished and the public transcript is no longer officially promoted by the government has not meant the end of the discursive or material effects of that time.
Counter Memory 84 Coloureds targeted for removals were put in the unenviable position of defending their homes against a rhetorical and physical onslaught. In that period of contestation, the two opposing transcripts had a dialogical and mutually structuring impact, a point-counterpoint type of relationship. This makes sense in that specific environment of domination and resistance spawned by the Group Areas project. What happens to a counter-transcript when the public transcript is discarded?
Do people who were invested in the production of a counter-transcript give up that particular discourse formation when the public transcript is rendered mute? And, if the subordinate are so fortunate, what happens when a counter-transcript becomes the new public, or official, transcript? This continued use of the counter- transcript to determine certain types of memories is what I will call the first principle of coloured collective memory. I want to shift the emphasis away from the notion of transcripts, which, in this case, were generated at a particular moment of inequitable power relations, to that of principles, if only to make clear that the production of coloured memory is under different constraints now than in the past.
This is the agenda behind the old transcript and present principle, and the key interpretive point to this chapter. While it is true that there are literally millions of memories recollected by coloureds which have nothing to do with this principle, nonetheless, when it comes to recounting stories about their former homes and communities, their memories fit quite neatly within the boundaries of this principle. It has a structuring, constraining, and enabling effect on how coloureds speak. Call it a principle of memory, a convention of narrative, or just plain old blinkered nostalgia for what was lost: the effect is that removees from all over the peninsula manage to speak about their pasts in strikingly similar ways even though they have had a range of experiences and identities.
Their memories of interracial interaction emphasize relationships of harmony, casual friendliness, and tolerance or benign indifference at worst. This is the case whether talking about interaction with whites or with blacks, Indians, or various internationals.
The Cape Town that removees remember before Group Areas was a place that was already without conflict. Consider the words of Melvin Mitchell b. It was quite good. There was never any friction.
But even though I did not ask the question, an answer was still provided. This exposed contradiction—in which a horrifying dispossession took place even though the primary reason was seen to be groundless— consistently recurs as a pre-occupation in coloured memory. In the way that a number of coloureds had argued to the Group Areas Board hearings that they lived in harmony with the other races before removals, Mr. Mitchell still bears testimony to that fact, though the ramifications of this memory have changed.
Leonard Lopes b. Again, an answer to a question unposed. Ronald and Rachel Lambert both b. But at the time, everybody just blamed the government, what they were doing, you know. We got on with them. I had white friends, girls and boys. Jewish, mostly Jewish. So we got on with one another; got along with different people. The government intervention was without the merit that it accorded itself.
A last example from Sea Point shows how, far from being in conflict, whites and coloureds collaborated in work and in struggle. Katherine Fischer b. Or animosity, or friction. They were doing it for free, battling with [the government]. Many of them are connected to early childhood. For instance, in Goodwood, coloured and African children played on the farms together, riding horses, building tree houses. They used to know us so well. Only the whites on their own.
But Bantu, coloured, Indians, Moslem, all attended one school. We were friends. And there was no problem. No problem. Why is this even mentioned—twice? What motivated Katie Pfeiffer b. I had not prompted it with any question or look, as far as I am aware. Again, I believe it goes to the notion that the counter transcript still has a structuring effect on coloured memory, that the echo of Group Areas reasoning still cues recall.
The many years of defending the interracial relations of District Six from the slander of government agencies has conditioned post-apartheid recollection, even though the context has changed. And if Mrs. Pfeiffer believed that I may have heard or read some version of the public transcript, and may have been influenced by it, then her words would serve to answer to an unspoken concern: that I might view, as the government did, interracial interaction in District Six as necessarily entailing conflict and justifying removals. Many coloured residential areas were slated as slums, worthy only of demolition; others were deemed backwards, worthy only of clearance and redevelopment for whites.
To this day, removees remember their former homes as being adequate to their desires, usually better than the ones they were forced into on the townships. Many of the conditions considered backward by the Group Areas officers were those very things which coloureds feel gave their community wholeness. The life histories of Leonard Levendal b. We had fresh water, spring water. And we had to chop our own wood, make a fire in the stove, the coal stove….
But everything was so fantastic and it was a pleasure going out to go and carry your water. Levendal mentioned that, Red Hill today. A rocky and lush landscape. Look closely and you can still see the ruins of old houses that coloureds were removed from 30 years ago. People complain about it here in this place.
We had to take it out; we had to go and buy all electrical things, a fridge and everything. And we had to take out that money to buy it. Otherwise we will be stranded without things like that. Because they lived without electricity and running water? For the Levendals, the so-called gains of running water piped, not fresh , electricity resulting in increased costs , and so forth, pale in comparison to the joy they say they derived from meeting the demands of rural life. They speak proudly of their former hardiness and self-reliance, Leonard Levendal at family gravesite in Red Hill, up the hill behind virtues stripped of them by removals: his old house.
And the people, we were self-sufficient people and we had our own cattle and pigs and chickens and all that…We had our own vegetable gardens. We had our own milk and made butter and made bread when my mother bought a big bag of flour. Chopping wood. Carrying water. Watering the gardens with buckets of water. He supplied all our needs. But in coloured memory, those pretexts are turned on their head, expressing instead virtues of self-sufficiency, hard work, community, natural purity and Godliness. And the purported requirements for modern city planning are deemed insufficient justification for the evictions they had to go through.
Marjorie Davids b. No ceiling, no ceiling. Condensation, wetness, people getting TB, children being sick, asthma, whatever.
No wonder these people are so ill. No wonder TB is floating. No human person can stay in this place, but we have to. Similarly, Elizabeth Williams b. We had our own eggs, we had our own vegetables out of the garden, so it was quite nice being a child in that day…. So you see how difficult for the people at that time to move down here. And the new house itself? But that was the only thing…. And that houses that we used to have, there was ceilings, wooden ceilings like this [pointing to the ceiling that she and her husband installed themselves], knotty pine…And we had two big bedrooms, a long passage, a big kitchen, and a dining room.
And a very big stoep. And it was quite nice…. The house was a wood and iron house, but it was much better than this house that the council gave us. Township living standards were significantly lower than the standards she remembers as being raised with as a child. As Bernice admits, though she loved living in Protea Village, she sometimes wished for modern conveniences as a child, especially after visiting friends and relatives in other parts of the city who had them.
So they were lured down by running water…. The propaganda was so intense that you almost, like, believe what they say, whatever they say. You can do it guys. I think it was a hell of a Mountain. Photo by author disappointment for my family; it was just a little rough for me. It was big and barren. Just a tap and bath that kept you there mos. They hint that their enjoyment of electricity and the like did not mean that they thought removal was worth it. For they had also enjoyed carrying water in the draagstock [pole with two buckets] from the fresh water spring and fetching wood from the forests surrounding Protea.
John explains: The problem was, I think, for us, we did not know really what we had.
The wealth, not wealth in monetary terms, but a wealth of culture and enjoyment that we had there. Instead…the government…should have enticed them in a way by giving them their electricity right there! Then giving them [loud sigh] the running water and taps right there…. Then they would have lived there forever. The idea that coloured living areas were hotbeds of criminality was an important theme for government propaganda. According to them, there was no more dangerous place in the city than District Six.
The same applies to other parts of the peninsula where coloureds lived in numbers, like lower Claremont and Goodwood. The alleged criminality of their neighborhoods is either positively denied, dismissed, or qualified in a way which contains or shifts its meaning. The same holds for those, who, having lived in areas not considered criminal, still speak to it, for the residue of the public transcript spread to all coloured locales, not just the ones specifically targeted with certain types of propaganda. They also speak on crime, or the lack thereof, in their former communities.
He shared with me an anecdote of how safe Protea was and how ludicrous it would be for someone to do something criminal to someone else in the community. No fences. In fact, the people never used to lock their doors. The Valentines literally laughed at the idea of crime in Protea Village in light of the inevitable social consequences.
The value of communal care, rather than individual advantage which might be gained through crime was also prevalent in Red Hill. There were all decent people where we used to stay. There was no fighting and knife-stabbing and all that. She was keen to persuade me that crime was not part of her life before removals, that it was the very change in locations that made crime and violence a central issue for her family. Her natal home was an area of peace, while her imposed township home was an area of crime.
In that time, there was no gangsters. Everybody did greet for everybody and knows where you stay and talk to you. You can talk. Only here in Lavis, then we used to get violence. Here in Lavis, the violence started for us. You come out of work, you can walk home. Nobody interferes with you, you know, like take off your rings or your stuff or whatever. The government certainly campaigned to present District Six as a hive of criminality and gangsterism, and newspapers never tired of reporting various acts of violence or robbery that occurred there.
How does coloured memory deal with this aspect of the public transcript?
In contrast to the above examples, in which removees refute and dismiss the idea of crime in their former homes, District Sixers re-evaluate the very notion of crime and gangsterism, qualifying their definitions in ways that contain their conventional meaning. If gangsterism was supposed to be so bad that it justified the destruction of a community, then coloureds were keen to show that gangsterism in their neighborhoods was misunderstood as a social factor.
Their understanding of gangsterism made it sound like a petty issue. Mymoena Emjedi b. There in District Six, a girl can stay out from the morning the night late. Nobody bothered you. I mean, there was also corner boys in the streets, but they never bothered people. They only did their own things. That was boys that helped old people get into buses, but not this type of gangs that grew up now….
Street boys on the corner, they were all smoking, you know what I mean. They were smoking drugs. They were only smoking the dagga, but they never bothered other people. And you can sit the whole night on your stoeps and listen how they sing. They never did that. And youngsters! I remember, opposite our house on the corner was a dairy.
Lastly consideration is given to the effects of salt production within and between communities, bearing in mind the widely expressed view that in prehistory richness in salt led to richness in other goods. Key words: salt, prehistoric Europe, biological need for salt, production techniques. In the literature to have been an important, possibly a crucial, commodity in an- prior to recent years it is commonly stated that 6 g of salt are cient times, as in modern.
It is well-known that a certain intake needed per adult per day, but in recent times as little as 1. That is a rather small amount, which could be traditional societies for the preservation of food, for its curative acquired through a diet involving the consumption of meat and properties, and for activities such as tanning.
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Historically and related substances; though the required amount does also de- ethnographically, it also has a symbolic value in many contexts. Blood is an Archaeologically speaking, the study of salt is complicated, especially good source of sodium. This may take various The conclusion is that humans usually get the salt they need for forms, and the study of these surviving remains is usually a health from their diet, provided that they are meat-eaters. A veg- technological matter. Equally important for our understanding etarian diet makes it much harder to survive, since grains, pulses of the ancient economy is the study of its social and economic and nuts are poor in sodium.
Since animal bones are so com- context, which is a much more difficult undertaking. The detailed evi- dence has already been published Harding and Kavruk, , Salt halite deposits are common in Europe Fig. Most while a more general recent consideration of ancient European countries have at least some access to salt; if not in rock form salt production and its implications is also available Harding, then in brine form sea water or brine springs.
Romania, Po- It is therefore not necessary to repeat much of the de- land and Germany are especially rich in salt deposits, but many tailed material that was presented in those publications; in- other countries have deposits that are adequate for modern stead, I will focus on issues of more general application. It is tempting to think of the ancient past in terms of the borders of modern countries, but that is very misleading.
The most notable of these cases is Hungary, but in some other countries salt is very restricted in Received: Received: March 10, ; accepted: April, 10, ; occurrence — for instance Ireland, where a mine on the north first published online: April 14, coast at Kilroot is the only one in the country.
If this is confirmed by new work, it means that ar- chaeological inferences will represent the main, perhaps the only, way forward. The two best known of these are mining and evapora- tion of salt water brine. Rock salt is most obvi- ously salt in crystalline form, but it re- quires grinding before it can be eaten, and only the purest deposits would be suitable for human consumption. Evaporation of brine or sea water could be carried out in a number of ways.
The most obvious, solar evaporation in salt lagoons, is still practised in Mediter- Fig. The major salt deposits of Europe ranean countries today and involves little or no special technology, though it is hard to spot archaeologically. The best which has plentiful deposits in the east, and abundant sea salt known archaeological source involves briquetage the coarse production on the Atlantic coast, has large areas without imme- ceramic used for brine boiling, referring either to elements of the diate access to salt; Ukraine is another case, where many de- furnace itself or to the pedestals that supported the evaporation posits in the extreme west and large mines in the east are sepa- trays and to the containers that held the brine; Fig.
This ma- rated by a vast distance without any sources. It is best known in Iron Age findspots of various ages. It is less easy to map inland brine contexts, but it started in the Neolithic in eastern Romania, and springs, and harder still to detect coastal exploitation from an- was used in various parts of Europe in the Bronze Age Ger- cient times. Nevertheless, all these have successfully been many, Britain, Poland.
By the Iron Age, huge quantities of achieved. Thus there is abundant archaeological evidence for briquetage were being produced in some areas, most notably prehistoric salt exploitation in Austria, parts of eastern France the Seille valley in Lorraine, where Marsal, Moyenvic and other and various parts of Germany, also for Britain, Romania and to places were prolific production centres; this is also the time some extent Poland. The question that arises is, which when production around North Sea and Atlantic coasts was sources did the areas without such evidence tap to get such salt abundant.
Even if biological reasons did not require such A function as evaporation vessels has been suggested for procurement, other reasons as outlined above did. For ar- apparently domestic pottery in a number of situations, starting chaeologists, identifying the salt source which supplied particu- with Chalcolithic Bulgaria and suggested for some other places, lar regions becomes one of the major tasks in the understand- including the Wieliczka area of Little Poland.
Without effective ing of ancient trade and exchange. Unfortunately, no method analysis of the surface or interior of the pottery it is hard to be has yet been devised for uniquely identifying particular sources sure about this, but certainly at Provadia in Bulgaria quantities by chemical means, in spite of various attempts. The chlorine is of ceramic beside the salt source are so vast that no other ex- too abundant and too soluble for any of the simpler methods to planation seems possible. Here, excavation since has uncovered a number of these troughs, most of them fragmentary but also showing important evidence for how they might have been used.
Two particularly relevant observations may be made: first, excavation in the southern part of the site produced evidence for the mounting of troughs on a stand of wooden poles, suggesting that they were raised above the level of the working surface wherever that might have been in relation to the rock salt ; second, in the cen- tral part of the site, where the first trough was originally noted in , no less than four troughs were present, lying more or less in a line.
This suggests that they worked together, and probably in sequence rather than in parallel, the product of one feeding into the next — whatever that product may have been. This raises the interesting but tricky question of how the troughs functioned. Obviously liquid of some sort was intended to percolate through the perforations in the trough base. When the very first trough, from a site in present-day Ukraine, was published Preisig, , the suggestion was that water would Fig.
Briquetage vessel containing salt be introduced into the trough and allowed to drip onto the sur- crystals reconstructed vessel by J. Goddard sult from such an activity. Recent experiments conducted at the Figa site have confirmed the validity of this reconstruction Buzea, Fresh water was channeled into a replica trough instances it may be reasonable to suppose that ordi- nary domestic pottery was used for the purpose.
Related techniques involve throwing brine onto bonfires and collecting up the crystals as they form, or burning halophyte vegetation. Both of these methods, well-attested ethnographically, may have been used in ancient times but will be hard to spot archaeologi- cally. The last technique to be introduced here is what we may call the trough technique. This is only found so far in a restricted geographical area in eastern Europe. It is not yet fully understood, but seems to have involved the extraction of rock salt from surface quarries or shafts several metres deep, and probably also the manipulation of brine.
Another discovery was made in the s at Valea Florilor near Turda in Transylvania. It was only with recent discoveries in Transylvania, how- ever, that the form of the objects could be identified with certainty, and methods of utilisation suggested. Radiocarbon dates indicate that all troughs dated so far originated in the Bronze Age, and may have con- tinued in use into the Iron Age, or even later. The troughs consist of hollowed out tree trunks, enclosed at one end or possibly in some cases both ends , 1. Within a few hours, technology that was in use in western Europe in the Bronze Age significant depressions were created; hammering wooden as well — the sites around Halle on the Saale being the best wedges into these depressions allowed chunks of rock to be known Matthias, , ; Riehm, , but there are in- broken off.
This is especially important given that removing creasing numbers of finds in eastern Germany and Poland such chunks manually by hammering is extremely arduous. In the Iron Age the quantities of salt produced must use of more than one trough at a time: doing so increases quan- have been very considerable, at least in the Seille valley; in the tity but not quality. This might suggest that another function was Bronze Age, on the other hand, the volume cannot have been possible: the concentration of brine in order that salt crystals very large since any one container only produced — g of could be obtained more easily, whether within the troughs salt.
I shall return to the implications of this below. No full-scale experiment has yet been con- nique, as described above, was in place. At present this technol- ducted to demonstrate whether this is possible, but a small re- ogy is only known from the Carpathian Basin, and specifically construction has been attempted, which appears to show that Transylvania and the Transcarpathian Ukraine, but it seems un- the idea has some validity Harding, If this technique likely that such a developed set of techniques would have been were to be successful, it might be possible to imagine a se- so restricted geographically if, as we believe, it was a highly ef- quence of troughs, one carrying brine into the next, the brine fective means of producing salt.
It is also currently known only becoming more concentrated with each successive stage. In other words, even if no troughs the Iron Age. That means that the salt produced was intended turies later. I have not place of production, perhaps significantly removed. If these notions are correct, we can take such massive production back one thousand years, to the Middle and Late Bronze Age. In Salt production in Europe in later prehistory can now be seen particular it is important to know what the scale of production to fall into a number of production zones, in each of which a dif- was, and who carried it out.
Was this a small-scale operation, de- ferent technology predominated. Around Mediterranean shores, signed to meet local domestic needs? Or was it a big affair, pro- solar evaporation was the normal technique, using mainly ducing large quantities many kilos of salt, more than would be coastal lagoons.
This is essentially what the Roman geographer needed locally and therefore intended to be moved to other com- Pliny tells us of ancient Rome, referring specifically to Sicily and munities, near and far, in exchange? Or something in between? Most ancient authors evidently took such production as so along with their places of residence, the artefacts they used, obvious that they say little about it; one can assume that it oc- and their burials. Unfortunately these are issues which are ex- curred widely, however, from the fact that it is widely present to- tremely hard to address, not least because salt does not survive day.
It is a technology that involves almost no special equipment, in the archaeological record, even in small traces which might just a suitable area beside the sea or other salt water source have indicated which artefacts were associated with the move- where the action of the sun would produce salt crystals naturally. In general, one may suppose that It has been suggested that solar evaporation might have where a settlement site is right beside a salt source, then there taken place around other seas, such as the Baltic Jaanusson was a direct connection between the two; such a case is that of and Jaanusson, , or the Black Sea Ivanova, , but Lunca-Poiana Slatinei in Moldavia, where a small Neolithic tell without additional input from artificial heat sources this seems lies immediately beside a brine well Weller et al.
Provadia Mirovo in Bulgaria, where a similar situation obtains Across most of northern Europe, the production technique Nikolov, Even in these instances, however, one can that was in common use was the briquetage technique, at least only speculate how many individuals took part in the operation, in the Bronze and Iron Ages.
Huge quantities of ceramic emanat- and for whom the product was intended. On the Fawn et al. It is known too from Germany and the Low Countries in east coast of England, need only have required a few dozen the Iron Age, and while the number of Bronze Age briquetage people, at most. The salt production zones of Bronze-Iron Age Europe There has also been speculation as to whether men or have been responsible for testing the salinity of brine in tanks women, or both, undertook the labour involved.
In part one can and determining when it was suitable for the final stage, produc- approach this topic simply through a consideration of the physi- ing salt crystals and cakes.