Ashwin Desai, who recently edited Chatsworth: The Making of a South African Township, has written an article for The Mercury about his tour of cemeteries in KwaZulu-Natal.
In the article, he describes the cemeteries he visits and reflects on the history that burial grounds point to. There is so much of the story of South Africa buried just beneath the surface.
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High up on the Ridge in Durban’s Berea is a cemetery nestled next to the most beautiful little church. The cemetery has stimulated articles in local newspapers as it opens its gates to people eager to go on tours and get a sense of the history that lies underground.
I quickly phoned in to book my place. The first day was full, but there was a place on the second. I was excited for I know that cemeteries are archives. As Gaston Bachelard, in the brilliant Poetics of Space, put it “there will always be more things in a closed box than in an open box”.
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