ABSTRACT

Utopias in Africa is an emerging academic field. While we are witnessing an increasing number of fictional and ideological utopias, little attention is paid to lived utopias. The Green Camp Gallery Project is such a lived utopia, which predominantly strives for realizing desired future imaginations in daily practices. Localized in the urban context of Durban (South Africa), in a derelict house in the industrial area, the Green Camp strives for a “simple post-growth life,” which is closely related to nature and the philosophy of Ubuntu. In so doing, the Green Camp responds to the overlapping crisis of urbanity and offers an alternative future aspiration. The Green Camp is not perfect and it is not able to solve the deep problems of South African society, but it offers an “island” of hope and imagination in a challenging urban environment. At the same time the lived utopia reveals the agency of the urban marginalized and contradicts widespread assumptions concerning environmentalism. Based on a qualitative study, the article takes an unusual perspective by analyzing the imagination of lived utopia in an emerging utopian hotspot—Africa.

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