Womxn as agents of change to transform the post-apartheid city


  • Francine van Tonder Tshwane University of Technology
  • Luthando Tshwane University of Technology




Heteronormative, post-apartheid city, queerness, transformation, womxn


The built form of South Africa’s post-apartheid city perpetuates the perception that a heteronormative, protestant, white, masculine, binary norm is the societally preferred perspective. This perpetuation means that queerness, spirituality, womxnness – and all those included within this community, are pushed down by this perceived preferred type of person. This paper presents secondary data on the current social and cultural milieu that restricts womxn from being agents of change in transforming the post-apartheid city. Architecture is complicit in what drives the masculinity that manifests itself in built form. Consequently, existing and future architectural interventions within the post-apartheid city fall short in their attempts to transform the city. Anecdotally, this failure is due to the reluctance to include womxn in the architectural programme of these interventions. This lack of transformation results in the phenomenon that the subdued group at the bottom of the social hierarchy remains silent, as they are left without adequate room to act, be seen, or establish their voice. This paper theorises how this zeitgeist[1] perpetuates post-colonial capitalist industrial linear economy thinking or the masculine approach. The approach vested in profiteering from natural resources and an oppressed labour force. As a result, there may be a connection between the successful implementation of this masculine thinking approach and the global ecological breakdown, proven to be due to the human-caused climate emergency. Finally, this paper argues for a newly established agenda that will inform architectural interventions for programmes that encourage a balanced (feminine and masculine) approach as a contributing solution.


[1] Zeitgeist, or spirit of the time; the spirit characteristic of an age or generation.

Author Biography

Luthando , Tshwane University of Technology

Luthando Thomas holds a MArch Masters of Architecture from the Tshwane University of Technology. He is an Candidate Architect and works as a professional fiction writer, storyteller, and researcher. He has a socialist disposition, and regards himself as non binary. He puts above all else a dedication to progressing Africa and it's people.