How architectural practice is influenced by and influences the contexts of two African countries is explored. This is a comparative study of architectural issues in
two contexts where urban identity is being drastically transformed. A framework of
advanced theoretical interpretation will improve our understanding of professional
practice in terms of limitations and possibilities.
The Sudan and South Africa are looked at because the situations in both countries
can provide interesting comparisons: South Africa, debatably, having progressed in
a route of recovery, a country in transition as compared to the Sudan that is still on an uncertain path, an instability typical of many African countries.
South Africa’s concern with ‘crime’ is in a sense as serious as Sudan’s concern with
‘war’ and both have their implications on the role of the profession. Preservation
and memory are, at least in theory, encouraged in South Africa as part of a healing process. In many cases, the Sudan is wiping out its past and even trying to reformulate its history.
Architecture and urban design can have the capacity for change and healing. But,
can the role of these disciplines be validated, preserved and justified as legitimate professions in both these contexts? This is what the paper sets out to explore.