African Cities Reader by Edgar Pieterse & Ntone Edjabe

By Edgar Pieterse & Ntone Edjabe

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Example text

So, in terms of President Abdoulaye Wade saying we can no longer have the airport where we have it, we can no longer have ministries where we have them, we have to relocate, we have to bring them out to make them more accessible, to recenter, to reconstitute somehow the gravitational field of the capital means in one sense this old reiteration of new grand, grand works. Still, the former center, Plateau, continues to be a huge building site. You still see these immense kinds of constructions taking place there.

All the means that we have at our disposal to do so, whether it’s writing or whether it’s photography, seem to be in a way not sufficient. VR: So the question is also about epistemology having to do with the urban as object. It seems that writing about invisibility is a productive way of describing what’s happening in African cities. And part of the interest is also to understand whether those forms of description are particular only to Africa or if they can travel to other urban conditions. FdeB: Well, invisibility can mean many things.

The plan was to have a distinctively performative event. Things got rolling fast. Photographer Lolo Veleko introduced me to the Smarteez, a group of young artists-cum-fashionistas whom she works with in Soweto. Together, we taped images on buildings, billboards, fences and other outdoor spaces. Some stayed up for weeks, others were torn down in a matter of hours.

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