The Blinded City
Ten Years In Inner-City Johannesburg
Amid evictions, raids, killings, the drug trade, and fire, inner-city Johannesburg residents seek safety and a home. A grandmother struggles to keep her granddaughter as she is torn away from her. A mother seeks healing in the wake of her son’s murder. And displaced by the city’s drive for urban regeneration, a group of blind migrants try to carve out an existence.
The Blinded City recounts the history of inner-city Johannesburg from 2010 to 2019, primarily from the perspectives of the unlawful occupiers of spaces known as hijacked buildings, bad buildings or dark buildings. Tens of thousands of residents, both South African and foreign national, live in these buildings in dire conditions. This book tells the story of these sites and the court cases around them, which strike at the centre of who has the right to occupy the city.
In February 2010, while Johannesburg prepared for the FIFA World Cup, the South Gauteng High Court ordered the eviction of the unlawful occupiers of an abandoned carpet factory on Saratoga Avenue and that the city’s Metropolitan Municipality provide temporary emergency accommodation for the evicted. The case, which became known as Blue Moonlight and went to the Constitutional Court, catalysed a decade of struggles over housing and eviction in Johannesburg.
The Blinded City chronicles this case, among others, and the aftermath – a tumultuous period in the city characterised by recurrent dispossessions, police and immigration operations, outbursts of xenophobic violence, and political and legal change. All through the decade, there is the backdrop of successive mayors and their attempts to ‘clean up’ the city, and the struggles of residents and urban housing activists for homes and a better life. The interwoven narratives present a compelling mosaic of life in post-apartheid Johannesburg, one of the globe’s most infamous and vital cities.
Affective Trajectories: Religion and Emotion in African Cityscapes (Religious Cultures of African and African Diaspora People)
The contributors to Affective Trajectories examine the mutual and highly complex entwinements between religion and affect in urban Africa in the early twenty-first century. Drawing on ethnographic research throughout the continent and in African diasporic communities abroad, they trace the myriad ways religious ideas, practices, and materialities interact with affect to configure life in urban spaces.
Contributors. Astrid Bochow, Marian Burchardt, Rafael Cazarin, Hansjörg Dilger, Alessandro Gusman, Murtala Ibrahim, Peter Lambertz, Isabelle L. Lange, Isabel Mukonyora, Benedikt Pontzen, Hanspeter Reihling, Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon
Routes and Rites to the City - Mobility, Diversity and Religious Space in Johannesburg
This thought-provoking book is an exploration of the ways religion and diverse forms of mobility have shaped post-apartheid Johannesburg, South Africa. It analyses transnational and local migration in contemporary and historical perspective, along with movements of commodities, ideas, sounds and colours within the city. It re-theorizes urban ‘super-diversity’ as a plurality of religious, ethnic, national and racial groups but also as the diverse processes through which religion produces urban space. The authors argue that while religion facilitates movement, belonging and aspiration in the city, it is complicit in establishing new forms of enclosure, moral order and spatial and gendered control. Multi-authored and interdisciplinary, this edited collection deals with a wide variety of sites and religions, including Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Judaism. Its original reading of post-apartheid Johannesburg advances global debates around religion, urbanization, migration and diversity, and will appeal to students and scholars working in these fields.
“Focusing on the particular global character of post-apartheid Johannesburg, this engrossing collection shows how the mobile bodies, practices, materialities, discourses and images that enact religion and spirituality are also fundamentally constitutive of urban social space.” (Mary Hancock, author, “The Politics of Heritage from Madras to Chennai”) “This book magisterially unpacks the movements and traces of religious practice in Johannesburg’s urban space. With its incredible attention to both the visible and the invisible, the evanescent and the more permanent features of urban religious life, it represents a masterpiece of urban scholarship. Through marvellous ethnographies an unseen city emerges in front of us. Highly recommended to students of urban studies and religion alike.” (Marian Burchardt, author of “Faith in the Time of AIDS: Religion, Biopolitics and Modernity in South Africa”, and researcher at Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Germany)