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Mnemonic devices: exposing the margin within institutional spaces of power in post-apartheid South Africa

Nothando Lunga


Distinction, Women in Architecture Prize, Dean's Prize,

Unit Choice Award


Sarah De Villiers, Dr. Huda Tayob,

Naadira Patel, Adam Osman


18 - Hyperreal Prototypes



“There’s a need to create spaces where one can redeem and reclaim the past, legacies of pain, suffering, and triumph in ways that transform present reality” - Hooks (1989:17).

 This project explores an architecture of “protest sustained by memory” (Hooks, 1989) in pursuit of a politically motivated speculation of contemporary and future definitions of equality – through exposing the ghosts and hauntings of past repressive systems in the present. Advancing theories of memory to account for contemporary forms of activism through design.

Bell Hooks writes in her essay ‘Choosing the margin as a radical space of openness’ “the margin is not only seen as a site of deprivation but rather a site of radical possibility and resistance” (Hooks 1989: 20). The project operates in the margin as a space that necessitates resistance against oppression, to transform, and speculate alternative futures and new discourses. By creating a resistance sustained by “remembering that serves to illuminate and transform the present” (Hooks 1989:4). 

The project explores memory as an essential apparatus of transformation, questioning how a series of mnemonic devices may act as grounds for speculative futures for equality in institutional spaces of power? By challenging the different aspects of the Bill of Rights and is situated at Constitution Hill. Reframing the question surrounding equality and what it means to be equal in a post-apartheid context, further identifying those marginalised in the process of democratising equality. 

The overall project proposes a form of resistance to being erased or simulated by exposing the margins set in place by dominant power structures.

Anguish longer than sorrow. Lunga, N. Unit 18. 2020.

Spatial measurement. Lunga, N. Unit 18. 2020.

Algorithmic response. Lunga, N. Unit 18. 2020.

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