I am proposing a set re-drawings (of archival drawings) and accompanying text that engages with the deep and submerged hauntings and histories of slavery in southern Africa, as read through architectural sites.

Slavery in the Cape Colony was officially the central form of social, cultural and economic organization from 1658 – 1834, and vital to the production of many of the key architectural sites from this period. In 1834, slavery was replaced by a system of indentured labour, a continuation of the slave system in all but name. I argue that while slavery and associated forms of racialized forced labour are largely represented as mild in early architectural histories of southern Africa, if present at all – there are moments when tracings, slippages and holes in the historical narratives point to stores of revolt, violence, and precarious yet peripheral care. The manor house of Waterhof, for instance, is described by architectural historian Dorothea Fairbridge (1922) as follows: “Waterhof is a place wherein to see visions and dream dreams. Legend says that you may hear the pattering footsteps of the mutinous slaves wherever you care to listen for them.” I am intrigued by these “footsteps”, and those who “care to listen for them”; and beyond the specific histories of this particular house, how similar stories emerge of various similar spaces, and the wider geographies where slaves were captured from (south east Asia, south Asia, east Africa).

Huda Tayob is a lecturer at the University of Cape Town. She is an architect and architectural historian. Her research focuses on migrant, minor and subaltern architectures, southern epistemologies and archival silences. She received an RIBA President Award for Research Commendation for her PhD, was the 2019 recipient of the SAH Scott Opler award for Emerging Scholars and is currently a Canadian Centre for Architecture Mellon Fellow on the project Centring Africa. She is co-curator of the open access curriculum racespacearchitecture.org and the digital podcast series and exhibition Archive of Forgetfulness (Archiveofforgetfulness.com).