Shiba Patel, who had immigrated to SA from Gujarat, India opened the doors of the Kismet cinema in Athlone, Cape Town about six decades ago.
The Kismet cinema was the biggest of three in the area and seated more than 1 300 people.
UWC's Prof Pramesh Lalu says the Kismet has been at the heart of a very serious study at the university to think about the ways in which our concepts of memory have altered with new digital technologies.
What we encountered was a very particular way in which the cinema produced a very different kind of encounter and memory with spaces in the Cape Flats.— Prof Pramesh Lalu, Director of the Centre for Humanities Research at University of Western Cape (UWC)
I'm particularity interested in the ways in which the cinema encapsulated a different sense of time in a place like Athlone and gave us a sense of duration, a sense of desire, a sense of thinking beyond the horizons that apartheid had constituted.— Prof Pramesh Lalu, Director of the Centre for Humanities Research at University of Western Cape (UWC)
Lalu says at the time, on any given Saturday, about 8000 people circuited through the cinemas of Athlone.
Lalu cites the importance of creating new assemblages of memory and to rid ourselves of living episodic lives.
We need to find a way of narrating our way into the world. And I think the cinema gave people a great opportunity to do that.— Prof Pramesh Lalu, Director of the Centre for Humanities Research at University of Western Cape (UWC)
Take a listen to the full interview here:
This article first appeared on 702 : Kismet Cinema played a key role in squashing apartheid era racial divides