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Castle

2019-12-03
After over two decades since apartheid has been dismantled in South Africa, the city centre of Johannesburg is still being re-established for development. The area once suffered from severe urban decay. With the financial district moved to Sandton, a new town 20 kilometres away, many high-end residential buildings and structures were deserted in the city centre, and the area has been notoriously known as the “No Go Area”.

The hollow cylindrical design of the 54-storey Ponte City Apartments once rendered it a symbol of high-class residences. After it had been forsaken, however, the symbolic courtyard became a popular spot for committing suicide. This tallest ruin in Africa also used to be a paradise for criminals, who used different colours of curtains to indicate the different shady business they did inside the flats. Yet, today Ponte City Apartments has reborn and is now the comfortable home of locals in this boisterous city.

While some choose to leave the city, many more choose to come. Every year, people from all over Africa flock to Johannesburg’s city centre, some hope to realise their dreams, and some simply hope to lead a stable life. An abandoned train station in the city centre provides shelter for a drifting musician, whose home is in the desert. He aspires to bring music into this city, and to express his belief in “great unity” with his guitar. Although he does not know how far he can go, at least he has found people of like mind here. He strolls around the city every morning, returning to this wrecked place, a legacy of the British colonial era, at night singing “Tomorrow Will Be Better”.

Urban Exploration II

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In this programme, activities of urban pathfinders will be carried on so as to find out the history and latent rules of every city through exploring ruins, during which we will approach the murky sides of different eras and study the stories inscribed in every ruin from the perspective of humanistic care.
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