Village Main (1888 – )

Village Main (1888 – )

Village Main (1888 – ) Bettina Malcomess My history with the site of the former Village Main Mine, just visible alongside the M2 highway, as the Joe Slovo onramp merges with the motorway heading West, begins as a student at Wits University in the mid 1990’s. Passing the head-gear of the mine on a daily basis, I was always fascinated by this marker of the city’s mining history. Around 2010, the headgear suddenly disappeared. Since 2008, Dorothee Kreutzfeldt and I had been working on our book, Not No Place – Johannesburg, Fragments of Spaces and Times (Jacana, 2013) and had been documenting sites along the mining belt, including the Top Star Drive-In, which was also in the process of being re-mined. Over the course of our 6 years of research on the city, we would visit the site of the Village Main on several occasions. After the completion of Not No Place, I would again return periodically to the site over the course of 2 years of fieldwork for the book project, Routes and Rites to the City: Mobility, Diversity and Religious Space in the Johannesburg. Here I worked with researchers, Melekias Zulu, Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon, Peter Kankonde Bukasa and Lorena Núñez Carrasco and the project was based in the African Centre for Migration and Society at Wits (ACMS). What is at question here is the temporality and history my relationship to this site produced by these two very different collaborations, where the role of writer, artist and researcher were in some ways interchangeable. The title of Not No Place is strongly tied to this site, a photograph of which...