Her chapter ‘Ajouter et soustraire : décoloniser les espaces urbains au Cap et à Copenhague’ presents examples from her doctoral fieldwork in Cape Town, which took place in the immediate aftermath of the removal of the statue of Cecil John Rhodes from the University of Cape Town in 2015. Here, the ephemeral statue of Chapungu, embodied by the visual artist Sethembile Msezane, took centre stage and rose like a phoenix from the ashes of the old imperialist, when his statue came down. The chapter also presents an example of a statue raised much further north, in the harbour of Copenhagen in 2018, in order to diversify the landscape of public commemoration.
This month, the anthology will be published in English, with Berghan Books, under the heading: DE-COMMEMORATION – Removing Statues and Renaming Places. Dr Nielsen is pleased that the anthology, with its dual publication in French and English, is likely to reach a wider global audience. The anthology was initiated in the wake of recent protests against police violence and racism, where calls to dismantle problematic memorials have reverberated around the globe. This is, however, neither a new phenomenon, nor one that is limited to the so-called Western world. De-Commemoration focuses on the concept of de-commemoration as it relates to remembrance and draws on research from experts on memory dynamics across various disciplines. The extensive collection seeks to make sense of the current state of de-commemoration as it transforms contemporary societies around the world.
The anthology will soon be available to purchase with Berghahn Books here.