Advertisement

Blue Johannesburg

  • Pamila GuptaEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter entwines affect, materiality, and the diasporic imaginings of an older Portuguese immigrant community as a way to reorient our way of seeing contemporary Johannesburg. Looking at certain Portuguese colonial signifiers in the making of its post-apartheid present, the chapter experiments with an alternative format for writing (and visualizing) the city from the perspective of driving (as opposed to walking, as De Certeau would have it) and in relation to the literary, ornamental, and sensory as forms of infrastructure and affect. Johannesburg is a city comprised of many Portuguese suburbs that were developed through three waves of migration from Madeira, Portugal, and the African ex-colonies (Angola and Mozambique). I focus on three traces: Portuguese monumentalism; Portuguese-styled azulejo tile work; and finally, the colour blue that fills these spaces, and which as entangled objects act as architectures of memory for many Portuguese living in Southern Africa. These materialities allow us to view Johannesburg as very much an enduring Portuguese city, particularly for its thriving diasporic community, which is estimated to be between 350,000 and 500,000 persons.

Works Cited

  1. Ali, M. (2006). Alentejo Blue. New York: Scribner.Google Scholar
  2. Augé, M. (1995). Non-Places: An Introduction to Supermodernity. Howe, J., trans. New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  3. Benjamin, W. (2002). The Arcades Project. Tiedemann, R., ed. Eiland, H., and McLaughlin, K., trans. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bessa, P. (2009). ‘A Diaspora Invisivel? Politica e lusitanidade na Africa do Sul, da descolonizacao a democtrazacao’. Lusotopie, XVI(1), pp. 133–153.Google Scholar
  5. Cahen, M. (2012). ‘“Portugal is in the Sky”: Conceptual Considerations on Community, Lusitanity and Lusophony’. In Morier-Genoud, E., and Cahen, M., eds., Imperial Migrations: Colonial Communities and Diaspora in the Portuguese World. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), pp. 297–315.Google Scholar
  6. Camões, L. (2008). The Collected Lyric Poems of Luís de Camões. White, L., trans. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Da Rosa, V.M.P. and Trigo, S.V.P. (1990). ‘Islands in a Segregated Land: Portuguese in South Africa’. In Higgs, D., ed., Portuguese Migration in Global Perspective. Toronto: Multicultural History Society of Ontario, pp.182–199.Google Scholar
  8. De Certeau, M. (1984). The Practice of Everyday Life. Rendall, S., trans. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  9. Frenz, M. (2014). Community, Memory and Migration in a Globalizing World: The Goan Experience, c.1890–1980. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Glaser, C. (2010). ‘Portuguese Immigrant History in Twentieth Century South Africa: A Preliminary Overview’. African Historical Review, 42(2), pp.61–83.Google Scholar
  11. ———. (2012). ‘Home, Farm and Shop: The Migration of Madeiran Women to South Africa, 1900–1980’. Journal of Southern African Studies, 38(4), pp.885–897.Google Scholar
  12. ———. (2013). ‘White But Illegal: Undocumented Madeiran Immigration to South Africa, 1920s–1970s’. Immigrants and Minorities, 31(1), pp.74–98.Google Scholar
  13. Graham, S. and Marvin, S. (2001). Splintering Urbanism: Networked Infrastructures, Technological Mobilities and the Urban Condition. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Gupta, P. (2011). ‘“Going for a Sunday Drive”: Angolan Decolonization, Learning Whiteness and the Portuguese Diaspora of South Africa’. In Fagundes, F., Blayer, I., Alves, T. and Cid, T., eds., Narrating the Portuguese Diaspora: Piecing Things Together. New York: Peter Lang, pp.135–152.Google Scholar
  15. ———. (2015). ‘Decolonization and (Dis)Possession in Lusophone Africa’. In Vigneswaran, D., and Quirk, J., eds., The State and Mobility in Africa. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, pp. 169–193.Google Scholar
  16. Larkin, B. (2013). ‘The Politics and Poetics of Infrastructure’. Annual Review of Anthropology 42, pp.327–343.Google Scholar
  17. Leal, L. (1977). Breve History dos Portugueses na Africa Do Sul. Potchefstroom: Potchefstroomse Universiteit vir Chirsitelike Hoër Onderwys.Google Scholar
  18. Little, M. (2012). ‘Belize Blues’. Semiotic Inquiry, 2(1–2), pp.25–46.Google Scholar
  19. McDuling, A.J. (1995). ‘Language Shift and Maintenance in the Portuguese Community of Johannesburg’. MA thesis, University of South Africa.Google Scholar
  20. Machado, P. (1992). ‘“Little Madeira”: The Portuguese in Woodstock, c. 1940–1980’. BA Hons dissertation, University of Cape Town.Google Scholar
  21. Massumi, B. (2002). Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Mbembe, A. and Nuttall, S. (2008). Johannesburg, the Elusive Metropolis. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Meloy, E. (2002). The Anthropology of Turquoise: Reflections on Desert, Sea, Stone and Sky. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  24. Merriman, P. (2004). ‘Driving Places: Marc Auge, Non-Places and the Geographies of England’s M1 Motorway’. Theory Culture and Society, 21(4/5), pp.145–167.Google Scholar
  25. Moyo, K. and Cossa, E. (2015). ‘“Ethnic Encliave of a Special Sort?” Mozambicans in La Rochelle, Johannesburg’. Journal of Southern African Studies, 41(1), pp.141–158.Google Scholar
  26. Nelson, M. (2009). Bluets. Seattle: Wave Books.Google Scholar
  27. Nuttall, Sarah. (2004). ‘City Forms and writing the “now” in South Africa’. Journal of Southern African Studies, 30(4), pp.731–748.Google Scholar
  28. ———.(2008). ‘Stylizing the Self’. In Mbembe, A., and Nuttall, S., eds., Johannesburg, the Elusive Metropolis. Durham: Duke University Press, pp.91–118.Google Scholar
  29. Nuttall, Sarah. (2009). Entanglement: Literary and Cultural Reflections on Post-Apartheid. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Pessoa, F. (1996). The Book of Disquiet. Zenith, R., ed. and trans. Rhinebeck (NY): Sheep Meadow Press.Google Scholar
  31. ———. (2010). The Book of Disquiet. Costa, M.J., trans. London: Profile Books.Google Scholar
  32. Simões, J.M. (1990). Azulejaria em Portugal nos séculos XV e XVI: introdução geral. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, 2nd edition.Google Scholar
  33. Solnit, R. (2005). A Field Guide to Getting Lost. New York: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  34. Stewart, K. (2007). Ordinary Affects. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Taussig, M. (2009). What Colour is the Sacred? Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  36. Verdery, K. (1999). The Political Lives of Dead Bodies: Reburial and Post-Socialist Change. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Vladislavic, I. (1996). Propaganda by Monuments and Other Stories. Johannesburg: David Philip.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wits UniversityJohannesburgSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations