What does decolonisation look like?

19 May 2015
Willie Bester's tribute to Saartjie Baartman.
Willie Bester's tribute to Saartjie Baartman.

Pulling this edition of Monday Monthly together, with its focus on the current decolonisation debate, we hit a snag: how do you visualise decolonisation? What does transformation of a university look like?

We needed strong visuals that weren't just of recent panels, seminars and discussions debating transformation and decolonisation but addressed the topic much more directly. We began looking for people connected to UCT whose medium of expression takes physical form – artists and performance artists – to see if we could find work that in itself would contribute to the debate (not just decorate it).

We've tried to collect a few examples that do this, while being aware that art is open to interpretation, and who's doing the looking matters a great deal – as shown by the variety of responses to Brett Murray's The Spear or (much closer to home) Willie Bester's tribute to Saartjie Baartman.

If seeing is a metaphor for understanding ("I see what you mean"), could visuals help various groups at UCT come to a shared understanding of what transformation can and should look like? We'd welcome your ideas.

Monday Monthly Read more stories from the May 2015 edition.



Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Please view the republishing articles page for more information.