This article is a reflection on how Pretoria as a political, social and cultural space
could be re-envisioned post-apartheid. The angle of approach is critical, general
jurisprudence as advocated by Douzinas and Gearey (2005), with an emphasis on
law’s consciousness, its conscience, and its justice. The reflection takes place against
the framework of spatiality, spatial justice and the notion of genius loci, spirit or sense
of place. Using John Hyslop’s discussion on the Afro-modern Mandela in Johannesburg
as point of departure, a discussion on Mandela in/and Pretoria follows, with specific
reference to the Treason Trial staged in the Old Synagogue between 1958 and 1961
and the Rivonia Trial played out in the Palace of Justice on Church Square in 1964.
The question is asked how the influence of Johannesburg as metropolis differs from
the influence of Pretoria as centre of nationalism, bureaucracy and governmentality.
Another, more recent, Pretoria trial, on the Schubart Park evictions, is invoked.
Linking up with Sarah Nuttall’s musing on the 'Johannesburg text', it is stated that,
in the same vein, the Pretoria text, as a certain instantiation of the lawscape, is still
finding its form.
This article was first presented as a paper at the Pretoria Imprint Workshop held on 8