Revolution in the shopping mall

The story of a shopping mall in Gugulethu, a township in Cape Town, speaks a great deal about the growing impact of capital in South Africa after apartheid. The Gugulethu Square Mall is the focus of a recent article written by NAI researcher Annika Teppo together with Professor Myriam Houssay-Holzschuch, University Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France.
Before the mall the land was used by local business owners. Representatives of the local community say that the land was promised to them. However, it ended up in the hands of the international investors. The mall was originally designed and developed by leading ANC members and therefore the interior and exterior are decorated with revolutionary images and poetry.
– In the mall, there are many developments that are very typical of contemporary South Africa. On one hand there is the belief in the social change, which will bring a more equal and wealthy future for Africans, on the other hand one can see the triumph of big businesses and the huge gap between the ordinary people and the elite in African townships of the post-apartheid era, says Annika Teppo.
“Gugulethu: revolution for neoliberalism in a South African township” is published in the Canadian Journal of African Studies.

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