Visual Redress Collection

The Arts and Social Sciences building stands on land where the indigenous peoples of South Africa (Khoi and San) hunted and grazed animals long before colonial occupation. When Europeans subsequently claimed the land for themselves in 1679, the indigenous peoples suffered a physical and spiritual loss, causing undue financial and psychological disruptions. Almost 300 years later, this land, which had become known as Die Vlakte, was once more a site of loss and pain. In 1964, in the midst of apartheid, a whole community was forcefully removed from the area and relocated to Cloetesville and Ida’s Valley based on the racially discriminatory laws of the time. This loss again caused great financial and psychological turmoil, which reverberates still today.

As the university reconciles with the community of Die Vlakte, a memorial garden outside of the Arts and Social Sciences building is proposed to allow for people to a re-establish their connection to this land. The garden, which will link to other community memorial gardens, will be a place of reflection; to consider the physical and spiritual entanglement with the land – and how forced removals contributed to the loss of that entanglement.