1 Kevin Patrick Grant, “”ACivilised Savagery”: British Humanitarian Politics and EuropeanImperialism in Africa, 1884-1926,” (Berkeley: University of California, 1997),4. 2 Vivian Bickford-Smith, “SouthAfrican Urban History, Racial Segregation and the Unique Case of Cape Town?,”Journal of Southern African Studies21, 1 (1995): 67.3 Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni,”Genealogies of Coloniality and Implications for Africa’s Development,”Africa Development / Afrique Et Développement40, 3 (2015): 18.4 Ibid.5 Ivan Turok, “PersistentPolarisation Post-Apartheid? Progress Towards Urban Integration in Cape Town,”Urban Studies 38, 13 (2000): 2361.6 Leonard MonteathThompson, A history of South Africa,3rd ed.
(New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001), 111.7 Ibid., 110.8 Ibid.9 Vivian Bickford-Smith, “BlackEthnicities, Communities and Political Expression in Late Victorian Cape Town,”The Journal of African History 36, 3(1995): 462.10 Shirin Rai, “Analysingceremony and ritual in parliament,” TheJournal of Legislative Studies 16, 3 (2010): 285.11 Shannon Jackson, “CapeColonial Architecture, Town Planning, and the Crafting of Modern Space in SouthAfrica,” Africa Today 51, 4(2005): 45.
12 Andrew Cusack, The Houses of Parliament, Cape Town, retrievedfrom: http://www.andrewcusack.com/2009/die-parlementsgebou/ 13 Ibid.14 Sophia Gray, Extensions to the Houses of Parliament. In: Sophia Gray MemorialLecture and Exhibitions, 24, retrieved from: https://issuu.
com/joh_designs/docs/sophia_gray_volume_1/3415 John and Jean Comaroff, Of Revelation and Revolution (Chicago:University of Chicago Press, 1997), 219-220.The Houses of Parliament’s political andarchitectural representations were indicative of a form of slavery – a formthat ultimately transformed into racism from a lack of cultural considerationsthat were missing within the legislationthat governed the city. The treatment of Cape Town residents signified the general lack ofdemocracy, and ultimately was the result of an imbalance of power within theHouses of Parliament. Colonialism not only made the lack of proper legislationmore apparent, it translated to the design of the parliament building. And whatwas most peculiar about the building was its representation of democracy thatwas always lacking behind the ideals of one group, which triumphed overanother. most elaboratesocial formations arise from such quotidian acts.”15on modest terrain,in simple acts of fabrication, use, exchange.
Even thenot least thoseset in train by European colonization, usually root(ed) themselvesmade it soineffably real, ought not to be underestimated. Cultural revolutions,threads andpassions. Indeed, the banality of imperialism, the mundanities thatby consumption,that tied peripheries to centers by potent, if barely visible,up dependencies.All of which conduced to a form of bondage, of conqueststylized objects,on disseminating desire, on manufacturing demand, on conjuringfiat, or bodilyexploitation. They also relied heavily on the circulation ofbuilt not merelyon the violence of extraction, not just by brute force, bureaucraticfor (cf.
E. Wilson1985:14). As worlds both imagined and realized, they wereearly modernEuropean empires were as much fashioned as forged or fought”A general pointhere: it may be argued that, over thelonger run as well, The impacts of slaveryand capitalism that were subjected by the British and Dutch colonizers wasundoubtedly a significant problem with respect to the black ethnic groups. Thecolonizers essentially ‘fashioned’ the slave workers, as described by John andJean Comaroff in 1997: Conclusion The building’s adaptation with the greaterurban fabric of the city, with respect to the cultures that occupied the citygrounds, ultimately dictated the building’s relationship with the public.
Thedirection and types of expansion that occurred, served to either improve ordiminish the significance of the building to the Cape Town residents. Exterior additions to the Houses of Parliament (Figs.1-3), have historically been of politicalnature, made by commissions directed at the architects of the building. Theeast-west extension of the building not only portrayed the dominance ofimperial rule through politics and style within Cape Town, but it moregenerally signified the city’s direction towards European modernity with theapplication of modern materials, heavy man-made structures that were lessforgiving to nature, and more inclined towards the enlightenment way ofthinking – that of producing, only to produce more. Figure 3. A roughplan sketch of the Houses of Parliament showing the approximatetime period of each addition to the building.
14Figure 2. Additions to the Housesof Parliament, as depicted with subsequent modifications.13 Figure 1. Subsequent modificationsmade post-1878 to the Houses of Parliament.12 The interior program of theparliament building can transform the politicians’ connection with the public.As you analyse the conventional plan organization of the main floor of the parliament,there is less indication of any major public consideration, and this, inaddition to the orientation of seating areas (in linear, circular, orrectangular fashion), and the types of areas for deliberation, can alter theintensity of dialogue and orient where government members convene. Improvingpublic engagement can occur in various ways, but architecturally, there are perhapstwo ways this can occur. Firstly, by altering the inner program of thebuilding, in literally intertwining spaces occupied by politicians with publicspaces.
Secondly, by altering the outer form of the building, physicallyapplying a meeting space for government members and citizens groups, and havingit oriented towards other public spaces to improve dialogue on importantissues, and to figuratively and literally mesh the House to the greater urbanfabric of the city. One approach to potentiallydivert racism relates to the design of the parliament, its ability to engagethe public, and its programmatic organization. The Houses’ form, ornamentation,and architectural style are important factors in changing the perception of theCape Town residents.
It can affect how the people associate with politics, butit can also dictate the livelihood of the people. This, in addition to thelocation of the parliament, and whether it was considered together with thelocation of neighbourhoods, and otherresidential areas could be reconsidered in order to positively impact publicaccessibility. This could entice greater community involvement by allowingcitizens better access to the policies that affect their lives as consumers andemployees of the city. Fromslavery to racism: ways of modifying the parliament’s design, and itsprogrammatic organization to tackle systematic racism The problem rootedwithin the occupation of the building itself was indicative of the Colonialpresence within the city, and the role of the House as it pertained to thelegislation that was being passed.
Even though many of the laws passed favoured private interest, they were secondaryto the deeper problem within parliament proceedings. Government regulations didnot for the most part account for cultural differences inherent to thedemographics of the city. The people, who experienced the brunt of the effectsof segregation were more or less the primary contributors to the city, andwithout them, the city would cease toexist. Another problem with the House was its inability to integrate publicinterests. The space between the government and the public grew, as theparliament lacked no physical forum for community involvement, and thisdecreased the public’s focus on provisions that affected their respective communities.City officials were looking for ways to reforms the city, and the sprawlrelating to the nineteenth century increased the need for new expenditures thatwould positively affect the lives of the citizens, as well as the stakeholdersand private parties that were apart of the city.
11 Although the parliamentdisseminated legislation on services that would benefit the city, specificallyon the improvement of citywideinfrastructures: including roads, walkways, and electricity – the developmentof modern architectures with heavy western influences still lacked thenecessary programs for ethnic minorities that accounted for the bulk of thecity’s population. Although the natives of Cape Town were the primary occupiersof the lesser developed regions of the city (the periphery, and portions ofrural Cape Town), their needs were still the least considered withinparliamentary proceedings. The parliament failed to truly represent the people,and this highlighted an inherent paradox. The building as a parliament wassupposed to be democratic, but its agenda primarily served the Colonial regime.Although this was arguable, it becamemore apparent when looking at the architectural style of the building. Theneoclassical, Cape Dutch styles of the building symbolized a form of slaveryand the inherent paradox of the Houses of Parliament.
Ethnicrepresentation in promoting civic engagement This was more apparent within a SouthAfrican context, as the proportion of non-white populations were greater, andthis stressed the importance of having laws that were specific to the demandsof groups classified as ‘minorities’. The minority groups, who were consideredpart of the lower to middle social classes were affected the most, in terms of theirwages being discounted (as a means of creating more opportunities for the industrialsector), and their lifestyle and ability to afford products and services asconsumers. By indirectly separating and segregating the people, throughcapitalistic desires for greater city development, greater resource extraction,and greater urban integration of the white population, the colonialistssuccessfully created differentiation which subsequently broadened thecontradiction of the parliament building.5The citizens of Cape Townwere mostly subjected to labour relatedto mining. The mining industry during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century was at the beginningsof its procedures, as the geographical context of South Africa made itdifficult for the Colonialist to acquire and to more generally ship neededtechnologies to excavate mines more efficiently.6 The lucrative nature ofthe diamond resource that was plentiful near the Cape Town coast, was onereason for the increased desire for mining.
7 Diamonds, in addition to Goldand other natural resources that were extracted within Cape Town, improved thecommercial and mercantile nature of the city and stressed the low wage labour of the African population8 (ethnic groups includingthe Zulus, and Xhosa peoples). As the technological condition of Cape Townimproved approaching into the middle of the eighteenth century, the Britishcolonizers were then able to divert the intensity of labour into mining and ontoother ventures, to explore other avenues for economic growth and to increasecapitalism and economic development, and to strengthen their dominance over thenative peoples. For the Colonialists, capitalism signified power, and thedesire to gain more created greater separation between social classes, and thissubsequently led to the feeling of discrimination. The black Africans in CapeTown were the subject of various forms of segregation, notably the residentialform, of which they were strongly against, but were powerless because of therule of power governing the city.
9 Parliament buildings alsosignified the inception of modern capitalism.10 Although the state ofCape Town was in strife during the Apartheid era from changes in government leadershipand the backlash witnessed from the people, the implication of theenlightenment period became increasingly apparent with respect to thearchitectural development of the city, and the adopted architectural stylesthat were used on parliament buildings. But this highlighted another majorproblem about parliamentary buildings.
Their composition and role were trampledunder other government priorities that were driven by economic growth. “‘European world order’ refers to an internationalpolitical-economic system that emerged between the sixteenth and twentiethcenturies and laid the foundation for an international legal framework andsystem, including maritime and company law as we know them, that came to be dominatedby European states and people of European descent around the world.”4 During the pre-Apartheid era, the concept of slavery was widespread andwas used as a way to impose labour ontothe general population of Cape Town. Although it was highly debatable as to theexact moment when specifically the British and Dutch subsumed slavery as a formof generating profits, it was more apparent in terms of the effects it had onthe people.
This idea of a world order, a European world order best-reflected colonialism, and was bestexplained by Glenn Willemsen and Kwame Nimako in 2011 and 2013.3 Reasonsfor enslavement and interracial implications It was during the occupation ofBritish and Dutch colonizers during the mid-to-late nineteenth century thatAfricans of Cape Town underwent enslavement that subsequently initiated theconcept of racism within South Africa. Slavery, as a form of racism in Cape Town, became possible through legislationwithin the Houses of Parliament, and other government buildings that wouldorganize the collection of government members to create laws to govern thepeople.
The organization of government took the specific form of aparliamentary building led by British imperialists, of which lacked acomprehensive understanding of the historical significance and identity ofSouth African cultures and architecture. The discrepancy between the leadersand the people subsumed under rule was a primary problem during thecolonization period of the early 1800s and continued to be a prominent issuethat required further investigation in order to provide a detailedunderstanding of the role that parliaments play in improving interracialrelations. Analysing the design of parliaments are one way of altering racerelations.
This approach, in addition to examining the Houses’ context andmember representation, can be used as a framework for other parliamentarybuildings within other African and western contexts on how to improve uponcurrent race relations, and how to improve legislationthat would vilify areas experiencing systemic racism, and provide solutionsthat would better incorporate public interests. Thispaper sheds light on the relationship between the Houses of Parliament and colonialismwithin South Africa. The late nineteenth century was important as it marked anincrease in slavery from European influences, and led to staged protests by theBritish against the Houses’ proceedings.1 British and Dutchimperialism within Cape Town during the mid-to-late nineteenth century dictatedthe form of architecture that was built within the city, specifically theadvent of the Cape Dutch style, and the use of the neoclassical style, whichopened up a paradox between the Houses of Parliament, and the way SouthAfricans were represented. This problem was essential as colonialism molded thecollective architectural landscape of South Africa into a western form, lessrepresentative of the African inhabitants of Cape Town, and signaled a lack of democracy within legislativeproceedings.
The contradiction of the Houses of Parliament, as a buildingpurposed to represent the people, but instead imposing the ideals of one groupover the other, was a prominent issue faced by many nations. The form of theparliamentary building, its context, and its ability to eradicate slavery wasan important disciplinary issue to South Africa and other ethnically-imbalancedforms of government. In conducting comparisons of elements of the parliamentarybuilding in Cape Town, its public access, and the scale and focus of publicissues it addressed based on colonial occupation, I will provide insight onwhen racism began taking its form. The very idea of control and exploitationthrough slavery in Cape Town led to racism. It should be noted that racism wasprevalent well before the implication of wage labourwithin the Afrikaner republic.2Inthis specific case, South Africa became occupied due to its mineral resources,and from the exploitation and commercialization of these resources for profitthrough enslavement and wage labour, twokey forms of colonization that were possible through ethnic imbalances, andthrough legislative decisions. I will approach this problem in three ways: howthe design of the parliamentary building encouraged greater ethnic variety andcivic engagement, how its design translated to its occupation, and what thismeant for the architectural landscape of the city and the types of architecturethat represented the people.
Introduction The Houses of Parliament in theratification and transformation of slavery in Cape Town, South Africa