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University of Cape Town

MPHO SEPHELANE

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Congratulations to our 2021 Student Architecture Award winner + R70 000 cash prize!

Re[covering] Place

African ways of seeing, making, and thinking as a call to rethink and remake places in cities

By using the Basotho blanket as a point of entry, Mpho investigates issues of recovery and preservation of traditional African knowledge systems and how they can be translated into the making of contemporary space. The blanket revealed an interesting cross-pollination of cultures and an ability to embody the tangible and intangible infrastructures that shape the identity of the Basotho people.

The project proposes the use of the Basotho blanket as a symbolic artefact of cultural preservation and continuum through architecture. This is explored through its connections to traditional practices such as litema mural practice, communal relatedness, and connection to nature in the creation of symbolic form and space. These associations of the blanket are translated into an architecture that engenders a revival of traditional practices through tectonic agency, relatedness to context, and creation of communal linkages in Maseru, Lesotho.

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