Benches bring back apartheid memories

Published Jan 12, 2007


Thirteen years after South Africa's first democratic election, it is somewhat startling to walk past a bench labelled with a "Whites Only" sign in Queen Victoria Street in Cape Town.

But the bench, which forms part of an installation by artist Roderick Sauls, has been placed outside the High Court Annex building to show where the Race Classification Appeal Board once sat to determine people's race classification.

This often random and dehumanising classification was stipulated by the Population Registration Act, passed in 1950.

The installation, which includes two benches designated for use by ''whites" and "non-whites" respectively, forms part of the Sunday Times Centenary Heritage Programme. Written on the benches are phrases from the classification legislation.

Editor Mondli Makhanya launched the public memorial project last year to "record and recognise some of the remarkable people and events that made our news century".

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