In early 2022, flames consumed the SA parliamentary building. A4AC Architects have posed a question: Should the new Parliament simply be restored, or should it reflect our African culture with space for a Kgotla (a public meeting)?
While the irony is that the contemporary Parliament houses a colonial (architectural) structure, A4AC does not propose that the past be destroyed or ignored but that it rather has a contemporary trace of our multicultural country added.
This issue deals not only with architecture but also with whether our parliamentary system should be reconsidered. Is our parliamentary system still relevant?
A4AC Architects utilize design and AI to create proposals. The new technology (Midjourney AI) could become groundbreaking in reviving lost African architecture. A4AC’s dream is for these new types of proposals to initiate a new movement in Africa. Our cities still resemble those that could be found in America or Europe. While we should not avoid international influences, it is suggested that our architecture should rather start speaking of our African culture in a modern way.
The reconstruction of the parliamentary building presents a unique opportunity to reflect our cultural identity and to create a new era of inclusivity and engagement. The question remains: will we seize the change to redefine the direction of our country’s politics and governance?
We need to build on our rich heritage and create a Parliament that directly communicates with the needs and expectations of our diverse society.
Architects at A4AC emphasize the importance of adding a Kgotla space, representing a core aspect of our African culture. It can be a place where our communities come together to ask questions and to make important decisions. It will also be a symbolic gesture to honour and value the voices of all South Africans.
However, the debate around the parliamentary building extends beyond the physical structure; it involves a fundamental consideration of our parliamentary system as a whole.
We need to seize the opportunity to transform our parliamentary system and to create a government that truly serves the interests of our people. It is about more than just a new building; it is about the values and principles that represent our nation, and it is about correcting inequalities and creating opportunities for everyone.
It is time to redesign our parliamentary system, bridge the gaping differences, and build an inclusive and engaged government. Let us not merely rebuild a building but create a vision that will unite our nation once again. Let us engage in dialogue, ask the questions, and find the answers that will lead us to a future where everyone can thrive.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Property Wheel.