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Untitled (Sharpeville Memorial)

The Sharpeville Massacre – also known as the Sharpeville Shootings – a deeply disturbing piece of the apartheid narrative, acted as a catalyst in the ultimate downfall of the regime. On the 21st of March 1960, 69 People were killed, including 8 women and 10 children and over 180 more were injured by police as they fled the protest site at the Sharpeville police station.

The Sharpeville Memorial Garden is situated in the Phelindaba Cemetery (where the 69 graves of those killed are located). GREENinc Landscape Architects conceived of it as a place of remembrance and gathering for the local community. The central idea is a ‘procession through the garden’ based of the concepts of memorial, gathering and viewing. Key elements of the project are the Memorial Wall, Amphitheatre and Flowers.

Situated within the lawned space behind the memorial wall, are the ‘flowers’, a series of 156 unique vertical raw-steel poles each capped with a black-and-white, granite geometric flower inlay. They serve as a permanent bouquet of flowers, laid on the memorial – akin to those left daily on graves in the cemetery.

The construction of the Sharpeville Memorial followed a ‘raw-building’ process. All building work was done by hand and fine finishes were kept to a minimum. Clay brick and steel were left unfinished with small granite details that act as an aesthetic adhesive. This aided in providing additional local job opportunities and thus the impartment of knowledge and complex skills to the surrounding community.

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