A Tale of Two Cradocks looks at the story of the Goniwe family as told in interview with the artist by Matthew’s widow, Nyameka. It is the story of how the couple met, got married, had children, and of how Matthew died. Matthew Goniwe was a respected teacher and a
charismatic popular leader, who became targeted by the apartheid government. One night in June 1985, he was intercepted by the police at a road block. He and his three comrades were pulled out of the car and shot by the police. Their bodies were burned. A photo from the police files shows two policemen leaning over the bodies. The fax (in Afrikaans) ordering the ‘removal’ of Goniwe is superimposed.
Cradock,the home of the Goniwe family, is an outwardly charming small town set in the Eastern Cape, but in the apartheid years, life there for the black and white communities took place on either side of an almost unbreachable wall. In the 1980s, the guide book the visitor could collect at the tourist bureau in town talks of the churches, the schools, the sporting facilities – available only for whites – but does not mention even once the name of Lingelihle, the black township adjoining Cradock. The deconstruction of seemingly innocuous public documents is one of the interests of the artist. The form of A Tale of Two Cradocks functions as a screen – somewhat like apartheid, you can only see one side of the ‘tale’ properly at any one time, depending on where you are standing