Cape Town will be the canvas for expressions, dialogue and debate during the See Festival which includes a full-day conference, tours, installations, performances, and music at various sites across the city from 22 to 27 November 2022.
Created and produced by The City, the intention is to bring together institutions, activists, artists, designers, and other creatives to exchange ideas, debate and develop methodologies to bring about representational equity in the public life of cities shadowed by colonialism and apartheid. There will be 22 local expert presenters and 10 studio participants from Africa and the Netherlands, exploring five major themes and manifesting them across the city.
“The See Festival will generate rigorous debate, and fresh discoveries. It holds the potential to kickstart long-lasting impact and relationships,” says Zahira Asmal, director of The City.
The See Festival will interest and inspire archaeologists, architects, art curators, artists, community leaders, cultural practitioners, digital designers, economists, film makers, graphic designers, museum curators, media practitioners, musicians, performance artists, poets, social entrepreneurs, social geographers, theatre producers, urban designers, and academics. And the ‘general public’, the people who form the city, who use the streets, gather at public spaces, and want the city to be made in their image.
Download the See Festival programme
Tuesday, 22 November 2022
A full-day conference hosted by The City, with discussions led by a range of experts. They represent fields as diverse as botany and museology, film-making and anthropology. This event is open to the public.
Venue: Cultivate, C3 Salt Orchard, 45 Yew Street, Salt River.
Duration: 08:30 – 17:00
Cost: R550 per person including refreshments. Tickets are available on Quicket
08:30 Arrival & Welcome, Zahira Asmal – Director, The City
09:00 The Wreck of the São José Paquete d’África, Unlocking Hidden Histories: Archaeology as Protagonist, Jaco Boshoff – Curator Scientist, Iziko Museums
The wrecking of the São José Paquete d’África on the Cape coast in December 1794 was not seen as different from any other shipwreck at the time. History only recorded the basic details of the incident, relegating it to no more than a footnote. In the 1980’s treasure hunters misidentified the wreck, further burying the narrative. This changed with the identification of the wreck as the São José Paquete d’África by the Slave Wrecks Project in 2012. The story of this shipwreck has inspired a plethora of responses from media, artists, museum exhibitions as well as public interest groups. Jaco’s talk will highlight some of the reactions to the unveiling of the wreck’s identity and juxtapose it against the background of the ongoing archaeological research
09:30 Visualising migrations in Cape Town: The Story of three ships through ‘time’, ‘space’ and ‘memory’, Meghna Singh – Visual Artist
Focusing on the theme of contemporary and historical migrations at Cape Town through research conducted on three ships between 2013 and 2018, Meghna will present a body of work that renders visible and unravels capitalist imaginaries in this port city. The work interrogates the hidden process of globalisation; the invisibility of the workings of the port; the invisibility of the workers; their stories and their connection to the movement of capital and renders them visible through the immersive audio visual creations.
10:30 Uncover, Kamyar Bineshtarigh – Artist
Kamyar will share the process behind his latest exhibition at The Norval Foundation. This body of work starts with his studio wall in Salt River, in a previously abandoned clothing factory. Two years of working accumulated a mass of marks and textures, which seeped onto the studio wall as an unintended tracing of creating other pieces. The studio wall is a site for experimentation and record, as people who visit the studio leave their mark on it. The works become an accumulation of time passing through the visual layers seen on its surface. Uncover is a body of work that pivots around memory, layering and place. Thinking through the questions of location, while working in the former clothing factory, his work arises out of reflection and intuitive mark-making, while engaging with notions of history and presence.
11:00 Kaaps, Creolisation & Double Consciousness: Language & Meaning-making Under the Classification of Coloured
Jamaican-British sociologist Stuart Hall famously said identity is an unfinished conversation. In this panel the three speakers Dylan Valley (director of an Afrikaaps documentary), Prof Adam Haupt (University of Cape Town) and Shaquille Southgate (Heal The Hood) will reflect on language, politics and culture in Cape Town and how this relates to “coloured” identity today.
13:15 Unfinished Business, Reflections on the Truth & Reconciliation Commission, Zahira Asmal – Director, The City
The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was set up by South Africa’s Government of National Unity to investigate, gather evidence and help address gross human rights violations that took place under apartheid from 1960 to 1994. Violations included abductions, torture and killings. While intended to heal and promote reconciliation, the court-like hearings were also controversial as the TRC had the power to grant amnesty to those who undertook to confess their crimes in full. The TRC held more than 2500 amnesty hearings and granted 1500. The authorities were slow to implement, or did not implement, many of the TRC’s recommendations. It appears that the architects of apartheid and perpetrators escaped accountability. Zahira reflects on the TRC, and the societal impact when justice is not served.
15:00 Reimagining Sustainable & Inclusive Urban Futures
Convened by Prof. Steven Robins, this panel will focus on the roles of activist and community-based responses to interventions in the socio-spatial and cultural landscapes of Cape Town. It will discuss how these responses can contribute towards deepening democratic participation and creating more inclusive urban futures. The specific sites, which include Philippi Horticultural Area, Maiden’s Cove, Tafelberg, Bo-Kaap, the Two Rivers Urban Park and Princess Vlei, raise troubling questions about spatial injustice as well as the suppressed histories and cultural heritage of indigenous, enslaved, and marginalised populations. Panelists will discuss the issues of their particular sites and suggest possibilities for creating shared visions of a more sustainable and inclusive urban landscape.
Panelists: Nazeer Sonday, Tauriq Jenkins, Gary Stewart, Denisha Anand, Jonty Cogger and Jacky Ponting
17:00 Closing drinks
Wednesday 23 November 2022
The full-day city tour is for See Studio participants only.
08:30 Table Mountain, Reading the City with Khalied Jacobs
Landscape, which includes the built environment, is a construct. It reflects the cultural production of its makers over time and when seen through the lens of it being an archive of our collective action, can be read as a series of symbols that are tangible and enduring. Although it has ascribed meaning that fluctuates, the syntax of landscapes, therefore, is the physical manifestation of a set of power relations. While looking over the city from an elevated vantage point along the slopes of Table Mountain, we will explore concepts of wilderness, glacis and semiotics through reading what we see.
10:30 District Six, No Matter where we are we are here with Mandy Sanger
Mandy leads a tour through the demolished and rebuilt areas of District Six. It speaks to a longing to return and a recognition that this act of redress is contested in a city where segregation is baked into its mentality. We will explore this by walking from the demolished site of Horstely Street, significant for the scapegoating and forced removals of ‘natives’ in 1901 to Uitvlugt, to the heart of the New District Six where ideas about who belongs in the city are reflected in conflicts over seemingly banal matters of the everyday.
12:00 Kirstenbosch Gardens, Whose Garden is it Anyway with Rupert Koopman
A visit to South Africa’s first national botanical garden with a 20-year veteran of the space, this session will introduce participants to the incredible floral wealth of the Cape – especially fynbos. We’ll look at the plant clues of precolonial landscapes which still persist in the city and in places like Kirstenbosch. Simultaneously, Kirstenbosch could be seen as a fore-runner in decolonisation of its collection (only South Africa plants, extremely unusual at the time for botanical gardens) while still being arranged in a more Eurocentric parkland way. In short, like our natural systems, it is rich… and complicated.
13:45 Resistance through Storytelling: A conversation about Riebeek’s Hedge with Judith Westerveld & Andrew Jacobs
A hedge of indigenous Wild Almond trees was planted in 1659 by Jan van Riebeeck, the Dutch Commander of the Cape, South Africa from 1652 to 1662. Together with a 16 km construction of wooden fences and watchtowers it formed the 25km long eastern boundary of the Dutch colonial settlement. To this day surviving remnants of the hedge grow in what is now Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. The official historical narrative presented is that it “served as a defensive barrier that was to prevent the original inhabitants, the Khoikhoi and San people, from raiding the colonist’s cattle”. In resistance to this perspective, it is also seen as the first Apartheid structure. Andrew Jacobs, former tour guide at Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, and visual artist Judith Westerveld, will share their perspectives on van Riebeeck’s Hedge in a dialogue that questions the official historical narrative and reflects on the lineage and lasting impact of this structure of segregation in present day South Africa.
15:00 Prestwich Memorial, Looking Away with Zahira Asmal
Since 1993, the human remains of over 3 000 people have been discovered in and around Green Point and the Waterfront. During construction alongside Prestwich Street, In May 2003, human remains were discovered. There was mass opposition by various groups, including community and religious leaders, Khoi and San representatives, heritage sector NGOs and academics, to the exhumations of the human remains, and on 12 January 2004, the Prestwich Place Project Committee (PPPC) lodged an appeal to the Minister of Arts & Culture. The developer and the City of Cape Town proceeded with the exhumation of the remains. On 22 July the Minister of Arts & Culture dismissed the appeal to make way for the development of apartment and office blocks, restaurants, bars, and cafés. Currently, the human remains are placed in cardboard boxes and housed in an ossuary at Prestwich Memorial. For the black people of Cape Town the exhumation of human remains at Prestwich stands in a long line of forced removals across the centuries, from colonialism to apartheid to the present day. Zahira leads a tour of the sites of discovery, “development” and unrest.
Thursday 24 November 2022
Teamwork and presentation preparations by the See Studio participants.
18:00 The Athletic Club & Social
This event is by invitation only, apart from the jazz session.
Obtain jazz tickets from the venue: + 27 21-012-5331 | email@example.com
Athletic Club & Social owner Athos Euripidou will lead See Studio participants on a tour of his venue. Athos arrived in Cape Town from Durban with a plan to create a space that promotes inclusivity. The triple-storey restaurant-meets-watering-hole, The Athletic Club & Social, is open to all who love good food, cocktails, live music and sports. Drawing inspiration from its roots as a speakeasy-style bar for athletes of all people during the apartheid era, Euripidou took to the city’s archives in search of old pictures of African sports teams. Coming up short, he sent a sports journalist into the townships, knocking from door to door, to unearth never-before-published photographs of African athletes, newspaper clippings, and old trophies dating as far back as 1932, to create a homage to the untold stories of our unsung heroes.
The tour will be followed by a wine tasting by one of South Africa’s most promising young winemakers, Rüdger van Wyk. His Stark-Condé and Kara-Tara wines continue to shine on the global stage as some of the most exciting to come out of South Africa. Rüdger is recipient of the prestigious Diner’s Club Young Winemaker of the Year award in 2018.
Friday, 25 November 2022
Teamwork and presentation preparations by See Studio participants.
Saturday, 26 & Sunday 27, November 2022
Taking the themes of the See Studio, ten handpicked participants will present work over this weekend in the form of performance, installations, seminars, walks and talks. These presentations will be free of charge and open to the public. Read more on the See Studio and follow the programme and updates on social media – Facebook and Instagram
Saturday, 26 November 2022
18:00 Cultivating Futures with Zahira Asmal
Cultivate is an inclusive wine initiative established by Zahira Asmal in 2020 made up of the Cultivate Collective and Cultivate Company. Membership is drawn from across the South African industry: winemakers, producers, analysts, sommeliers and wine consultants in export, marketing, tourism and innovation. Cultivate promotes and amplifies the participation of black talent in one of South Africa’s flagship enterprises. Wine represents an opportunity for all South Africans to contribute, develop, and celebrate. Cultivate has both an online and in-person marketplace. In addition, the Collective offers workshops, masterclasses, conversations with industry experts, and mentoring to encourage young people who are passionate about the future of wine.
18:30: Food & Wine: Discovery through terroir and taste
Sommelier, Spencer Fondaumier and chef Jocelyn Myers Adams engage with the themes of the See Festival that deal with rituals, memory, belonging, nature and hybridity in Cape Town, and created an immersive and sensory experience of shared food and wine. This delectable experience is open to the public and includes multiple courses, and wine made by Cultivate members.
Venue: Cultivate, C3 Salt Orchard, 45 Yew Street, Salt River
Cost: R650 per person. Tickets are available on Quicket
Find out more on Cultivate