In the wake of Apartheid, the flotsam and jetsam of the divided past flow over Johannesburg and settle, once the tides recede, all around Ivan Vladislavic, who, patrolling his patch, surveys the changed cityscape and tries to convey for us the nature and significance of those changes. He roams over the grassy mine-dumps, sifting memories, picking up the odd glittering item here and there, before everything of value gets razed or locked away behind one or other of the city's fortifications. For this is now a city of alarms, locks and security guards, a frontier place whose boundaries are perpetually contested, whose inhabitants are 'a tribe of turnkeys'. Vladislavic, this magpie of mementoes, stands still, watches, and writes: and his astonishing city comes within our reach.
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