Military veterans spiritual & commemorative centre in East London, Eastern Cape province: World monuments & landmarks in a South frica, context

South Africa has 37 World War Memorial sites, of which 15 are in the Eastern Cape Province, 10 within the Amatole District Municipality, 5 inside the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality (BCMM), and the largest concentration of 3 War Memorial Sites being found in East London (Martinson 2010). The intent of this paper is to recreate the historic context of East London, and to understand the character of the city post and pre-First World War. The structure of this paper examines World War 1 commemoration as an event, the choice of commemorative symbols, how the commemorative symbols became a source of remembrance. The second examination deals with emotional and spiritual health, and cultural memory in relation to world war events. Through this process, this paper seeks to explore on how ‘forgotten narratives’ can be interwoven into commemorative sites that have a century’s worth of rich social and cultural histories. World War Monuments & Landmarks in a South African Context. The proposed intervention seeks to use East London War Memorial and its site features to create indigenous narratives for the ‘Forgotten World War Veterans’. The proposed intervention will stand as a symbol of remembrance alongside historic monuments to commemorate the ‘Forgotten’ for their bravery, contributions towards the world wars. The programme for the War Memorial site seeks to hybridize the military landscape with an art gallery, outdoor pavilions acting as spiritual chapels, and the main building housing satellite offices for NGOs, a coffee shop, an outdoor market area, and a ‘salt water’ bathhouse located at the rooftop.
A research report submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional) to the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2022