God’s Land

Director: Ismail Farouk
Countries: South Africa
Year: 2009
Running Time: 3 min.
Language: English


Highlands Hill in Yeoville is an important public space where African Indigenous religious practices dominate. This spiritual hill provides open space for hundreds of worshippers to gather in prayer on a daily basis.

Much of the religious activity occurs in contravention of the regulations set out by the city parks utility company who manage the space. City Parks have signposted the hill as a ‘no prayer’ zone. It seems the city does not recognize the inherent spiritual value of the space and often enforce the ‘no prayer’ regulation by threatening to arrest worshippers for loitering. Much of the hill is earmarked to be redeveloped as housing for inner city residents.

God’s Land attempts to bring much needed attention to the spatial justice issues being experienced on Highland’s Hill. By altering existing exclusionary signposts on the hill, the work attempts to point to the conflict between the spiritual needs of the local community vs. the needs of mainstream development.

About the Director

Ismail Farouk

Biography: Ismail Farouk is an artist and urban researcher living and working in Cape Town. He holds the position of Researcher at the African Centre for Cities, where he convenes the Central Citylab project and is responsible for the urban culture portfolio. In his artistic practice, he focuses on developing creative responses to racial, social, political and economic justice. His work has appeared in several exhibitions: Afropolis (Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, Cologne, 2010); Urban Concerns; ZA: Young Art from South Africa (Palazzo delle Papesse, Sienna, Italy, 2008); Apartheid: The South African Mirror (CCCB, Barcelona, 2007). In 2008, he was a fellow at the MAK Centre for Art and Architecture, Los Angeles; this residency gave rise to the exhibit Canceled without Prejudice (2008-2009). Ismail Farouk was the first recipient of the Sylt Quelle Cultural Award for Southern Africa (2008), presented by the Goethe Institut, South Africa.


Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
God’s Land (2010).

Morris Isaacson High School Route (2006);
Johannesburg Time Lapse – Jack Mincer Taxi Rank (2006);
JHB626GP (2006);
We Cannot Continue to Die like This (2007);
Soweto Uprisings: Vuwani Secondary oSchool (Chiawelo) (2007);
Rock Sale (2007);
Performance 2 (Passage) – Public Intervention (2007);
Johannesburg Trolley Pusher Protest (2008);
JAG Gates: 15h30 (Urban Concerns) (2008);
Keith Trolleycam 1 (Urban Concerns) (2008);
Keith Trolleycam 2 (Urban Concerns) (2008);
Rites of Fealty / Rites of Passage at the Bag Factory 2008 (2008);
Trolley Pushing and Life in Zim (2009);
First Trolley Road Test (2009);
Stayin Alive in Joburg (2009);
God’s Land (2009);
Binary Existence: Reggie Watts (2010).