UCT uses dance to reflect on slave history

27 August 2007

As part of its ongoing work towards transformation, UCT held a special function at the Baxter Theatre on 10 August to celebrate and reflect on aspects of slave history.

The event coincided with the dance production, Cargo, which explores issues of slavery in the Cape.

The production is in collaboration between Jazzart Dance Theatre and Magnet Theatre, and takes as its foundation the fact that for 186 years Cargos of porcelain, silks, spices and slaves from Mozambique, Madagascar, Indonesia and India were a major part of the culture of the Cape. It uses performance to re-imagine and bring this history to life.

Professor Martin Hall, Deputy Vice-Chancellor responsible for transformation, said this history is feeding into initiatives to reflect on the university's past and the land it is built on, and the process had to include an acknowledgement of slavery.

"Slavery is an integral part of the history of UCT," Hall said. "Our Rondebosch campus is built on land tilled by slaves in the 17th century, and our Hiddingh campus is part of the Company's Gardens precinct, where slaves worked to provide the trading fleets."

He said acknowledging and remembering the past was a critical part of transformation.

The Cargo function was part of UCT's Respect programme.

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