Usakos: Photographs Beyond Ruins

The photographic collection "Usakos: Photographs Beyond Ruins" consists of images taken from albums of old location inhabitants of the 1920s-1960s.
Grendon, Paul; Miescher, Giorgio; Rizzo, Lorena; Smith, Tina
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Title: Usakos: Photographs Beyond Ruins
Subtitle: The Old Location Albums 1920s-1960s
Authors: Paul Grendon; Giorgio Miescher; Lorena Rizzo; Tina Smith
Genre: Photographic collection
Publisher: Basler Afrika Bibliographien
Basel, 2015
ISBN 9783905758597 / ISBN 978-3-905758-59-7
Softcover, 25 x 25 cm, 144 pages, throughout b/w and colour photographs


This catalogue and the present exhibition emerged from research conducted by Giorgio Miescher and Lorena Rizzo that began in 2011. Usakos, one of the main railway hubs during the early decades of the 20th century, was one of the urban locations we chose in view of retracing histories of railway towns and apartheid urban planning in Namibia and South Africa. In the course of our investigation we met Honourable Theo-Ben Gurirab, who originates from Usakos, and helped us make contact with four of the senior members of the Usakos community: Cecilie //Geises, Wilhelmine Katjimune, Gisela Pieters and Olga //Garoes. We met these women several times and spoke about their experiences of apartheid urban transformation and forced removals, and it was on the occasion of these conversations that they introduced us to their private collections. One of the foci of Cecilie //Geises', Wilhelmine Katjimune's, Gisela Pieters'and Olga //Garoes' collecting practices were photographs produced in the so called Usakos old location, the former African residential area that was forcibly removed by the South African authorities in the 1960s. Because we considered these photographic collections to be remarkable in view of visual histories of 20th century Namibia, we proposed to the female collectors and curators to produce an exhibition for the envisioned local museum at Usakos. The exhibition and the catalogue include numerous photographs and maps kept at a number of Namibian, South African and European Archives.

Content: Usakos. Photographs Beyond Ruins

Preface and Acknowledgements
Photographs beyond Ruins. The Usakos old location albums, 1920s to 1960s
Usakos' Urban Past. Traces in the Archives
The Cecilie //Geises Collection
The Wilhelmine Katjimune Collection
The Gisela Pieters & Olga //Garoes Collection
Photographs by Paul Grendon