'nishaani' a poem of a journey of return Part 1 Dissertation 2000 Nabeel Essa University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg South Africa Retrieving memory in Pietersburg,"my dark face is close to me I want to join" (Toni Morrison, Beloved )This journey, 'going home' is framed as an architectural autobiography and sets out to investigate the unresolved issues of home as the root and embodiment of identity; home within the emergent architectural identity of post-struggle South Africa.Investigating these constructs within the condition of forced removal, I was overwhelmed by the silenced histories of my hometown, Pietersburg (north of Johannesburg): the disregard for continuity and concomitant fragmentation that has produced a disembodied city.The journey is contextualised within the field of memory, beginning with my grandfather's home and shop, and a community's eviction. The restitution that should follow the historical removal of Indian residents and shop-owners from the centre of a rural town becomes the impetus for my research. The use of a "self-referential methodology (sic)..." connects to "a broader South African historiography..." and acts as a "precedent for the recovery of our histories." This grounding allows for a revision that engages and reflects wider perpetual displacements. "The mass destruction of records … has had a severe impact on South Africa's social memory… Ultimately, of course, all South Africans have suffered the consequences – all are victims of the apartheid state's attempted imposition of a selective amnesia" [The Destruction of Records (Vol 1, Ch 8, para’s 104 & 106) Truth and Reconciliation Commission's findings.]'Remembering'; the writing becomes a cathartic defiance of the blanket amnesia imposed on South Africans. Penetrating the over-written surface to expose an erased memory of a dispossessed people. A body of knowledge was developed as a basis for providing a critical juncture, in both time and place, as one partial contribution to the healing of this apartheid town. Engaging on multiple levels, to secure an open representation necessary for the ongoing work of restoration and the construction of difference that is fundamental to the post-colonial project. My intent was through a marginal voice to inhabit the "rim of an in-between reality", of history and memory, building and removal. This has been realised through a translation of excavated memory into projected form. Nabeel Essa [body|building] as knowledge production frames discourse for the BArch program. Although ‘design discourse’ is directed at independent inquiry, current investigations by thesis candidates have tended to reflect the events and concerns in the contemporary SA city. Despite a predominance of the Inner-City inquiries, individual Topics have been specifically identified through a process of research around issues of transformation in relation to emerging political processes11 Government’s current green|white paper policy positions contributed significant input to research, as well as to contemporary architectural theory. In particular, a critique of type and its associative limitations in relation to the possible ‘false truths’ of apartheid and the predominant certainty associated with the western position. These issues have been re-interpreted through an individual ‘narrative process’ to provoke difference and effect new sets of social arrangements. Process has been privileged above that of final product.In his response, Nabeel not only produced a provocative translation of thinking through making, but contributes to both global and local theory production through the use of writing and being. This form of architectural narrative begins to ‘re-write’ type in a critical subjective that resonates with the collective, adding value to our contemporary condition of uncertainly.