Straatpraatj(i)es: Remember to Onthou
Poster paper, Wheatpaste glue
The work forms part of the exhibition Re(as)sitting Narratives curated by Chandra Frank.
Remember to Onthou is the most recent installment in a series of public
art interventions in Cape Town called Straatpratjies. Straatpraatjies is a
mengelmoes Afrikaans/Arabic conversation that speaks to silence and voice
both visible and invisible in South African and Dutch historical
narratives. For us, the creation of Afrikaans and its resilience parallels
with Cape Jazz and carnivalesque musical traditions of improvisation and
spontaneity. Traditions that are rooted in expression amidst oppression.
The installation is made up of two parts. In the upstairs gallery we
references the basic principles for spelling rules in the “standardized”
version of Afrikaans, taken from an old school textbook. These rules often
stand in opposition to the everyday expression of black Afrikaans speakers
who have contributed to the development of the language historically. In
the downstairs corridor we attempt to subvert the very same text by
translating it into Arabic-Afrikaans. This system of transliteration was
instrumental in the evolution of Afrikaans away from Dutch in Colonial
Cape Town and represents one of the black roots of the language.
Translation and linguistic advice contributed by Arabic-Afrikaans expert Saarah Jappie.