In 2004 Tracey Randle completed her MA at UCT in Historical Studies with a thesis that examined what heritage (and whose narratives) was represented within the landscape of wine tourism, using certain wine farms situated around the Cape as case studies. Her undergraduate had focused on Southern African history and archaeology, with an increasing interest in the role of narrative and micro-narrative in representing colonial, slave and indigenous visual and public histories.
Since May 2004 Tracey has been the principal researcher and resident historian for Solms-Delta wine estate, situated just outside of Franschhoek. Tracey’s archival research centred on the complex and nuanced contact zones between colonists, indigenous inhabitants and slaves, farm owners and farm workers. The visual and physical expression of this research was the installation of a permanent exhibition called ‘Museum van de Caab’ (opened in 2005), and its satellite exhibition ‘Music van de Caab’ (opened in 2014, similarly themed on the contact zones omnipresent in the global and local influences in Cape music). Unearthing the long history of loss, dispossession and ‘slow violence’ on this landscape, in partnership with the present day residents on the farm, incubated a relationship between farm owner and farm worker that moved towards a fragile journey of reconciliation.
The curatorial method underwent on Solms-Delta saw a marriage of community and historical engagement within the contested space of white-owned farm land as Solms-Delta navigated the difficult course of transformation and land reform. With the specific context of Solms-Delta as backdrop, Tracey’s PhD will explore the central role that the process of curation and engagement with the archive and historical representation can play in heritage and transformation work.