Remembering Marikana: public art intervention and the right to the city in Cape Town
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This article investigates the role played by cultural initiatives in urban struggles in South Africa, and the emergence of public art to assert the right to the city. I explore how artistic– activist interventions engage an understanding of social justice and the right to the city in provocative visual and performance art. I demonstrate how such interventions reflect Lefebvre’s conceptualisation of the city as a space to be inhabited in an active process, which critically includes its re-imagination. The paper focuses on creative interventions in Cape Town that confronted the city’s genteel public space with the second and third anniversary of the shooting of 34 striking miners at Marikana on August 16 2012. I argue that bringing the commemoration of the massacre into the public urban space – where post-apartheid Cape Town exhibits its claim to cosmopolitanism – challenges the politics of space in South Africa. I asked, how these cultural initiatives articulate claims through reimagining the city how they engage with the intertwined politics of culture and class followed by both the city and the nation–state, and how the artistic practices contest urban citizenship in contemporary South Africa.