Constantia Heritage and Education Project
The Constantia Heritage and Education Project, with Christ Church Constantia, is raising R160 000 for a Heritage Day 2021 exhibition. This will be a photographic and interactive exhibition in which we showcase the organisation’s heritage work and will be a traveling exhibition which shall be exhibited in various locations in and around the city, starting in Constantia and moved to areas where people were moved to under Group areas. For example, an additional venue would be Grassy Park Library.
The exhibition is hosted jointly by the CHEP, Christ Church Constantia, and the Centre for Curating the archive at the University of Cape Town, which will provide expertise in curating as well as the use of their exhibition materials. Christ Church has been at the heart of the Constantia community, prior to the Group Areas Act. Many of Constantia’s dispersed community continue to attend Christ Church, seeing their family’s roots as intertwined with the church and the suburb, despite having being evicted from the area.
Hence, in honor of Christ Church turning 160 years old, Christ church is appealing to the congregation as well as the broader public to assist in supporting the Constantia heritage and education project in fundraising R160 000 towards the exhibition and for the continued work of CHEP.
Over the past 4 years, CHEP has hosted community events and done oral history interviews with members of Constantia's dispersed community.
The initial exhibition will be launched for Heritage month at Groot Constantia estate.
The following items will be on display:
Photographic Exhibition, Dispersed Constantia Community
A central focus of the exhibition will photography. We will incorporate different types of photographs.
- Current photographs were taken of members of the dispersed Constantia community.
- Current photographs will be complemented by former community members’ personal archive of photographs, which we will have scanned and on display. This blends contemporary images with personal records, traversing space and time;
- Landscapes and images
Oral History - Multimedia
Oral histories of Constantia’s dispersed community will be on display written on boards, published on pages in books for the public to read on site as well as through video and audio recordings. This incorporates the sensory experience of bringing the voices of Constantia’s dispersed community back to Constantia and to the space. These oral and audio interviews will be available to listen to or watch as video clips.
To add in sensory experience found objects will be incorporated into the exhibition. This will include objects from people’s homes but also those found in the natural environment that evoke memory. For example, manure to provide the olfactory experience, as cow manure was used as flooring in farm cottages of locals. Local flowers and plants and barrels of water will also be included.
Maps hold particular social significance as hegemonic tools of cartography in the planning of space and ownership. Our exhibition incorporates aerial photographs and maps from the 1950s and 1960s as well as maps drawn and etched onto by our dispersed community. Maps will include where former community members lived and other landmarks, the names of farms that are no longer there, or street names that have since been changed.
Multimedia Artistic Projects
Over the past 3 years members of Constantia’s dispersed community have engaged in interactive artistic projects involving the creation of multimedia memory books and collages. These will be on display at the exhibition.
In addition, to connect the exhibition to Christ Church Constantia’s 160 years in the community an additional mosaic project will be conducted on two of the four pillars that hold up the roof of the church with one pillar mosaiced with the names of farms that former residents lived and worked on and the other with the names of former slaves in Constantia.
This timely multimedia exhibition responds to the need for community restoration initiatives if we are to foster integrated communities in South Africa that acknowledge South Africa’s multiple histories and its diverse heritage.