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The Design of an Afrocentric Circus in the Johannesburg CBD

Nelson Mandela University


Historically, news of a travelling circus coming to town created an atmosphere of anticipation and excitement among all ages within a community. The design for occasion in the form of a performance space aims to bring not only unique celebration, but both emotional and physical upliftment to Johannesburg and its city dwellers through the circus ideal; a city that was once the home of jazz, art, politics, and insurgent popular aspirations now represents inner-city decay, dereliction, and urban sprawl.

The outcome is a world-class act that promotes organisations like Zip Zap that create social cohesion, opportunities, and unlocks skills transfer to South African youth from otherwise disadvantaged situations. By proving a unique cultural experience through moments of an event, people are given the opportunity to escape their reality and momentarily believe in a little bit of magic.

A high-performing space supporting forgotten cityscapes and their dwellers

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