chapter  15
19 Pages

Contested collective memory in the segregated city of Cape Town

WithCecil Madell, Martin Murray

This chapter explores how subjugated social groups stand in opposition to the official memory of state and local political officials. The collective memories of the sacrifices of the disenfranchised coloured and black residents in Cape Town have been subsumed under the triumphalist rhetoric of the city as vibrant, world class and a model of a post-racial world of reconciliation and the rainbow nation. This chapter focuses on four sites of anti-apartheid conflict and contestation that emerged out of the political struggles of ‘freedom fighters’ in countering the apartheid state. They are investigated through semi-structured interviews with key informants, the evaluation of archival materials, and news coverage. The chapter argues that while city officials and political figures do not readily acknowledge places and local historic events of conflict and memory and choose rather to push aside, ignore and forget them, local groups have tried to keep memory alive through various means of vernacular remembrance.