South Africa’s shameful migrant labor policies of the past have left a socioeconomic
mark on the families of millions.
The ruin in the garden has long been a fascination of many artists and poets, but
in the case of an abandoned compound complex alongside Cullinan’s diamond
mine, the author is left unsettled with the thought of the romanticisation of the
compound falling to ruins. The anesthesia has to stop at some point.
Nature and time have acted upon the compound and has allowed for a large
amount to be erased from the publics’ greater memories, (partly due to its inherent
isolation and its inaccessibility to the public). Nature is only doing what it knows
best - to carry on and heal. The convoluted question needs to be asked, when does
it become necessary for human influence to occur and stop a natural process of
decay, especially in question of preserving tangible heritage? In Skelton’s poem, it
is suggested that the place is ‘filled with music”. This dissertation will attempt the
opposite; to fill a place with silences so as to expose and reveal the narrative of the
hardships endured to the lives of so many before us.
The proposed intervention manifests as a meeting point between nature and the
memory embedded in the site, and allows for mediation between healing, adaptive
reuse and memorialization. A dialogue must be formed between what is ruin, the
new condition and its relation to the wild nature of the Highveld as well as the new
introduced vegetation for consumption and research.
Dissertation (MArch(Prof))--University of Pretoria, 2015.