Attend a guided tour of the new Constitutional Court building in Johannesburg. At some stage or other the well-trained and polite guide will ask you whether you have seen any court building
like this. Then, listen to the visitors unanimously respond, "no!" Why? Jean-Francois Lyotard maintained that in a multicultural and multiethnic society grand narratives are out of place and what we need is a proliferation of small narratives. Post-apartheid architecture of South Africa seems to be not only in tune with Lyotard's view but extends it to include inverse narratives as well. The difference between our Constitutional Court and others of its type is due to its implicit small and inverse narratives. Another matter which this paper will take in its stride in a positive way is the notion of African Renaissance. The course of action it will take is to go to the primary source or first principle and set the scene by looking at a quintessential example of Renaissance architecture containing small and inverse narratives. The assumption behind this strategy is that
whenever there is a political and cultural change, there is a corresponding narrative shift. Using the principles contained in this example as yard-sticks, this paper will then examine a selected number of works of South African architecture since 1994, delve into their narrative contents and identify their place in the international evolution of contemporary architecture.