A BRIEF REPORT ON THE SIMILARITIES BETWEEN PROJECT PROPOSAL DOCUMENTS ENTITLED `NEW LANDSCAPE, NEW IMAGES: ‘The apartheid Museum”’, `THE PARK OF FREEDOM’ AND `FREEDOM PARK’
My brief in this report is to determine whether in conceiving their proposals, the authors of `The Park of Freedom’ (hereafter called Document B) and ``Freedom Park’ (hereafter called Document C) plagiarized both in spirit and substance the ideas and concepts articulated in `The Apartheid Museum’ (hereafter called Document A). My starting point is that, at least according to the author of document A, the authors of document B and C had in their possession document A prior to their conception of their proposal. The probability that they may have looked at document A which subsequently influenced the conceptual and the material substance of their proposals must be very high and beyond any reasonable doubt. By conceptual I mean the theoretical premise or simply put, the motivation for `The Apartheid Museum’ that inspired the author of document A in the first place and by material substance, I mean the envisioned articulation / implementation of this concept both in architecture, spatial dimensions and the concrete articulation of the concepts by specifying them in terms of activities and functions of the `Apartheid Museum’ outlined in document A. My other basis of assessment stems from the fact that the intellectual ownership of ideas, concepts and knowledge, abstract or concrete, rest with the originator or its author and the least that can be done when these ideas are used in their entirety, partially or simply paraphrased is to acknowledge the originators of such ideas and pay for their reproduction in line with the intellectual property rights that protect ownership of published and recorded ideas. My brief is that the authors of document B and C acknowledge receiving, seeing and reading document A prior to the conception and the actual writing of their documents.
It is apparent that even a superficial reading of the documents reflects a striking similarity of ideas both in their conceptual imperatives and the envisioned paths of implementation. In this report I wish to draw attention to the conceptual similarities and to protocols for the realization of the `heritage concept’ that cuts across the three documents.
To understand the case of plagiarism behind documents B and C, at a conceptual level, we need to place in sharp focus the vision and mission of document A, conceived 20 years ago and published in September 1998 as a comprehensive proposal of action. Documents B and C were only produced in January 1999 and mid 2002 respectively. To understand the drive and vision behind document A we need to turn to its sections entitled `Declaration of the Apartheid Museum’ and `Why the Apartheid Museum’. Under the former, the document spells out the motivation behind the Museum as having to do with the necessity to capture the legacy of apartheid in its multifarious form, but also to bring to surface its rich, often painful, but complex history. On this the section declares that it philosophy has to be `rooted in the history of the people of South Africa’ in an attempt to capture both their painful and heroic moments – to celebrate and to affirm its historicity. Secondly, the project sets out to locate the Museum within the twin oppressive phenomena, Colonialism and Apartheid, in order to assess their impact on the psyche of South Africans. In this the project assumes a restorative role aimed at psychological healing of all South Africans. It is also aimed at creating a critical awareness, particularly among the youth of this country, as the future custodians of a new South Africa. It is the awareness about their past as it is about the present and the future. Finally, the declaration talks of trying to root the Museum within the African context by showing our shared humanity and history with the rest of the continent.
Why Apartheid Museum? The answer to this is simply put. The Museum ought to be a monument, a mosaic of sorts from which the people of South Africa and humanity in general, could draw a lesson to enable an affirmation of our common humanity and as a movement away from this tragic past and legacy. And finally, it aims at restoring ownership of this legacy to the people of South Africa, but particularly to the black South Africans who have been excluded from the mainstream history of this country.
The Case for Conceptual plagiarism: Document B by The Park of Freedom
A look at the broad aims of document B, entitled `The Place Inspires’, it fundamentally coincides with the statement of intent in document A outlined above. Firstly, aims one and two (Building National Process of Reconciliation and Therapy and Healing Process, a duplication of aims that could only be read as a poor attempt to disguise a stolen idea), in document B relate to the project of healing and restoration that are clearly articulated in document B. Aim 3 in document B, `Memorial of the Fallen’ is a written version of the glamorous tribute to freedom heroes that document A gives in graphic sculptures of Black leaders, drawn by Ben Omar, Designer, Artist and Sculptor in Residence at Stainbank and Associates. Finally, the last aim of document B, `Teaching Experience for Young Generation’ coincides so sharply with the third paragraph ofÂÂ the section of document A entitled `Declaration of Apartheid Museum’ to warrant any direct reference here.
Plagiarism at the Level of Implementation
The conceptual architecture of document B talks of a circular structure, which is almost a carbon copy of the structure envisaged in document A. Document B talks of an auditorium consisting of 500 seats, document A talks of one consisting of 4000 seats plus a 300 seater theatre which in the case of document B is located at the park in which (see item II), `Special spaces are incorporated in the Park, among them an Amphitheater for outdoor performances’. The main building in document B (see item IV) also has space for `housing a library, computerized archives, a cafeteria and offices’. This is the very same idea that document A refers to as `Archive, Library, Computer and Study Centre’ under the section called, `The Social Thrust’.
`A Chapel: The Hall of Remembrance’ in document B is referred to as `A Place of Greatness and Inter-Faith Prayer Room’ in document A, both of which encapsulate the point of reconciliation through collective memory of South African heroes, ordinary and great, and `A place for reflection, for thought, for prayer’ which the authors of document B have amplified as follows:
- `People will go through an emotional experience, a central place symbolizing the reconciliation between black and white South Africans’ and `Gospel Music will flood the space and visitors will light a candle, hold hands and pray and honor the memory of the fallen’. (see item V in document B).
- Document A simply summarizes the two spaces as a place which `evokes an interactive human experience’ while document B could be said to have collapsed them into one. There could be no greater case for plagiarism than the way document B, section V, attempts to mimic the spirit and substance of what document A conceives as `The Place of Greatness’ and `Inter-Faith Prayer Room’, while attempting to disguise it under an equally plagiarized rubric – `A Chapel: The Hall of Remembrance’.
- Document B’s so called `Hall of Roots’ also mimics Document A’s `Arts and Cultural Centre’ both of which aim at showcasing indigenous South African material culture and heritage. Significantly, the only major deviation is that document B refers to various South African black communities as `numerous tribes’, by no means uncharacteristic and a clear pointer to the ideological baggage of the authors. Document A simply talks of local communities.
- The `Hall of Temporary Exhibit’ in document B is also comparable in substance to `The World Peace Centre’ in document A. Both spaces in the two documents are aimed at the international community and serve as conference facilities for institutions that work in areas related to the basic thrust of the `Museum idea’. Indeed, ideas behind `The Conference Room’ and `The World Peace Centre’ in document A are also closely linked to those ideas behind `Hall of Struggles’ in document B and therefore betray open plagiarism of ideas on the part of the authors of document B. Again, the authors of document B are masters at disguising through re-naming and shifting of ideas to feign originality, even when they have none. Finally, the outdoor experience that document B talks about is very well encapsulated in the idea of `The Gardens’ that document A makes reference to.
Plagiarism of Document A as reflected in Document C.
Document C produced by the authors of the `Freedom Park’ coincides very sharply with document A, particularly in its objectives. Like document A, document C also sets out to create a historical mosaic for memory and posterity. Document C is also inspired by the desire to harness South Africa’s complex legacy as `governed by the principles of national legacy’. Besides, the vision of document C which speaks of the `Freedom Park’ as `a leading national and international icon of humanity and freedom’ is hardly different from document A’s declaration that `The Apartheid Museum will actively engage the South African nation and the international community in programmes of social justice’ and to a related declaration which asserts that, `It shall be incumbent on The Apartheid Museum to: … disseminate information to its broad constituency locally and internationally to market its facilities, services and programmes, remain vigilant, alive to change and development relating to issues of human rights and social justice’.
The two documents also conceive of the `Museum / Park’ as being run as a foundation of sorts that is non profit making in its motivation.
The mission statement of document C (see p. 9) talks of the park as ` a pioneering and empowering heritage destination that challenges visitors to reflect upon our past, improve our present and build on our future as a united nation’. This is precisely what document A had set out to do as early as 1998, long before document C was even conceived (see paragraph 4 of the declaration statement in document A). The last point which describes Freedom Park as `a liberating, spiritually cleansing and inspirational experience….’ (p. 10) captures very much the restorative and healing ethos of `Apartheid Museum’ spelt out in its statement of declaration. Indeed, the `General Description’ section of document C (see p. 10), is almost a summary of the points raised in the section entitled `Declaration of the Apartheid Museum’ in document A. The former is marked by terms and phrases such as `inspiration’, affirmation of South Africa’s historicity and national identity, celebration of South Africa’s `triumph of humanity’ and the liberational nature of the Park as the centre for spiritual cleansing and reconciliation, all of which are encapsulated in document A. The section in document C entitled `Memorial’ (see p. 12) is a summary of the section in document A called `Our Story in a Defined Space’.
What we have in document C is an attempt to disaggregate those themes subsumed under `Declaration of the Apartheid Museum’ and `Why the Apartheid Museum’ in document A.
Thus in terms of its conceptual framework, document C could be said to mimic very closely the vision encapsulated in the declaration statement and the section entitled, `Why The Apartheid Museum?’ with the exception that the vision and mission statement of document C remains thin and terse.
Plagiarism in the Envisaged General Outlay and Implementation Process
Again, as in document B, document C follows very closely the implementation process envisaged in document A. One encounters `Garden of Remembrance’ in document C which almost echoes in its entirety, the substance of `A Place of Greatness’ in document A. `Phase II (2003 – 2006)’ which details work to be done in document C, Museum, Memorial, Conference Centre, Commercial Precinct and Administrative Block are too close to the details under `The Social Thrust’ in document A. The Commercial Facilities in document C (p. 16) are also strikingly similar to the facilities mentioned in the section entitled `The Commercial Thrust’ in document A to be the original ideas of the authors of document C, particularly because they admit having seen and read document A. The so called `Gathering Space’ in document C is the equivalent of `The Stadium’ in document A, except that the latter seems more ambitious in it scope and design, but it nevertheless serves the same purpose as `Gathering Space’ whose primary aim is to host `special events including national days and live performances’.
Finally, under the section entitled `Economic Benefits’ (p. 18), document C talks of `commitment to black economic empowerment’, very much in the same way that document A talks of `Empowerment: Participation for Participants’. The two documents also converge on the idea of outsourcing to what is referred to us `public-private partnerships’ (p. 18) in document C, and to `the shareholder, tenant, and donor base’ in document A. Document C Part II, is very much an attempt to give detail to the implementation process. Indeed, what this document spells out as its core-business and non-core business continue to reflect the very imperatives that underpin document A, except for the addition of NEPAD, which has only gained currency and prominence in the last one and half years.
I wish to submit that the similarities between the three documents in their broad and specific conceptual framework, and indeed in their envisaged processes of implementation, are so striking that it is impossible to conceive of one without the other. And since document A was conceived first and since the authors of document B and C acknowledge having received and read document A, it is most probably and certainly beyond reasonable doubt that document A provided the impetus, the ideas and substance for documents B and C.ÂÂ
NAME OF AUTHOR REMOVED FOR SECURITY REASONS