top of page

Tales for the Nursery

Miliswa Ndziba


Distinction, Dean's Prize

Parish Priests:

Tuliza Sindi, Muhammad Dawjee


19 - The Act of Service



Through toys, Tales for the Nursery produces microcosms of conditions of realities in current day South Africa.

Architecture has been used to socially engineer the rituals of performance that exist in current day South Africa. Aiding this, toys have been used as a tool of engineering to reinforce – and make replicable – this architecture in the imagination of the youth. The study explores how rituals of performance that are embedded as a collective consciousness during childhood facilitates the sustained production of erasure of black people in South Africa.

The work is a family memoir set in three time periods, namely: colonial South Africa, Apartheid South Africa and present-day South Africa.

The collection of toys, which is presented to the child as components with corresponding assembly instructions, employs alternative ways of seeing South African spatial history, through tools such as a paper theatre, colour-by-number triptych and a dollhouse. The information references Once Upon a Time by Weinstein (Weinstein, 2005) for effective methods of imparting information to children through sustained practice and repetition. The child’s reward for their ability to follow direction and instruction is a toy that reveals to them the rituals performed in South African society.