Opaque Infrastructure: Black Markets as Architectures of Care

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Bellstat Junction and Sekko's Place are two markets in Cape Town established by migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. They are perhaps better understood as black markets existing within a lineage of global black urbanisms, past and future. These sites occupy a slippery legality, sited in the peripheral margins and shadows of the central city of Cape Town. They operate across grammars of transaction and care. An architectural reading of black markets enables a drawing out and stitching together of the constituents of these sites: of site and story, of domesticity and infrastructure, of publicness and transnational networks. Adopting the term black markets for these sites calls attention to the racialization of these spaces, and their emergence as sites of possibility, precarity, and care in the face of protracted crises.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375- 384
Number of pages10
JournalPublic Culture
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2022


  • black markets
  • subaltern architectures
  • Architecture
  • infrastructure
  • Cape town
  • South Africa
  • Migration
  • architectural theory
  • Architectural history


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