A collaborative project to teach about South Africa’s ‘unfinished business’ through the creation of innovative decolonial artistic interventions, podcasts, and establishing a digital platform that allows global participation, dissemination and digital archiving.
The Project “Unfinished Business: Disruptive Narratives of South Africa’s Abusive Past” is intended to promote and support critical engagement with the fault-lines in the implementation of transitional justice in South Africa. The project has three key aims: (1) creating renewed dialogue and learning about unresolved historic violence and injustice in South Africa, (2) promoting collaboration between scholars, activists and artists and (3) devising relevant and accessible educational material.
Haroon Gunn-Salie’s lawn installation is located near the gallows of the historic Castle of Good Hope, Central Cape Town. Crying for Hope: the installation features 118 excavated grave sites, whereby 117 graves symbolise the activists killed under detention of apartheid security forces. The last grave signifies those who have yet to be identified. Justice: when viewed from above, the site spells out the word ‘Justice’ to reify the continued struggle for truth, justice, and accountability in post-apartheid South Africa.
Project aims and objectives:
- To challenge the silences and biases in South Africa’s public space;
- Through an artistic installation bring discussions about bias in commemorative practice to a broad audience of memory makers and citizens with diverse background;
- To make explicit links between histories of violence and contemporary legacies of violence in an educational series focussed on South Africa’s unfinished transition;
- To provide (physical) national and (digital) international spaces of dialogue about the need for diversity and inclusion in remembering South Africa’s past.
Project methodologies and outputs:
- Collaboration between researchers (Dr Helen Scanlon), artists (Haroon Gunn-Salie and Andre Trantraal), and museums (the Castle of Good Hope) in producing timely and locally relevant counter-narratives;
- Innovative decolonial artistic interventions in South Africa (installation at the Castle by Gunn-Salie; animation by Andre Trantraal and four podcasts on South Africa’s “unfinished business”);
- Establishing a digital platform that allows for global participation, dissemination and digital archiving.
“The ‘Unfinished Business’ Series is a creative amalgamation of various intervention tools aimed at challenging the multiple lacunae’s left in the wake of South Africa’s transitional justice processes. In revisiting and unpacking topical transitional justice issues surrounding criminal accountability, youth, reparations, performative art and queering transitional justice; this project aims at bringing underrepresented historic violence and narratives to the fore in order to challenge and re-imagine a largely untransformed public memory scape.”
Carl Capitaine, Research Coordinator & Podcast Host.