The goal of greater inclusivity should be at the forefront for architects in South Africa and beyond, Morojele argued.
"I'd like to see architects focus on the way architecture creates social cohesion. In South Africa, architecture has always been used to separate. It had subtle mechanisms in buildings that were used to define who belongs where: which entrance you use, depending on your skin color, and things like that."
Morojele says architects and urban planners can -- and must -- reverse that historical process of division to repair fissures and create more equitable cities.
In South Africa, racial barriers are still visible on a map of most cities. In Johannesburg where Morojele's lives, Apartheid-era urban planning segregated the population by race. Still today, black-majority townships are cut off from disproportionately white urban centers, with jammed highways between and little organized public transport, meaning residents of townships can spend a third of their income on their commute.
Meanwhile new divides have emerged as sprawling gated suburbs have sprung up to house the upper-middle classes. More than 25 years after Apartheid, South Africa remains the "most unequal country in the world," according to the World Bank. This has resulted in cities of such radical inequality that many are notoriously difficult and dangerous to traverse by foot, with long commutes for everyone and among the world's highest rates of road fatalities.
Morojele backs Johannesburg's recent requirements for 30% affordable housing on new developments
, and a proposed requirement for quality transport infrastructure
that would provide for rich and poor neighborhoods alike to "bring back the dignity of using public transport, so it's not something that only the poor use," he said.
But the architect is distinguished in matching a hard-nosed focus on righting past wrongs of urban planning with a sensitive approach to planning. For example, he favors natural materials for heritage projects that draw on local animistic beliefs -- traditional beliefs that inanimate objects contain spiritual energy.
In Freedom Park, Morojele used natural materials to create a narrative of remembrance and hope. To do this he assembled boulders from South Africa's nine provinces -- having been ritually blessed in interfaith prayer sessions in the name of peace -- and even imported soil from across the world.
"It started off as a place that would offer symbolic restitution to people who lost their lives in the struggle for liberation," he said.
The Garden of Remembrance, a green belt surrounding the central memorial, contains earth from countries outside of South Africa where people had been stationed in exile and had died during the fight for liberation. "In a sense, the installation is given a certain spiritual energy because of the soil used that has come from different countries, which is now embedded into the monument or memorials," he said.
Morojoele is keen to now connect more analytic and spiritual approaches. As he plans for future commissions, he sees a path forward via neuroscience, and the ideas of "environmental psychology" developed by the likes of Finnish architect Juhani Pallasmaa, which hopes to explain how our natural and built surroundings affect our behavior and emotions.
"The advances in neuroscience nowadays can relate the environment to people's emotions and people's nervous system, how it responds to different environments," Morojoele said. "I'm interested in understanding the Western scientific basis of what indigenous knowledge systems were expounding."
This approach -- combining neuroscience with animism, and layering landmarks and urban infrastructure with emotional nuances -- makes clear Morojele vision.
"We need to go back to understanding ourselves as biological beings, less as intellectual beings, bringing in more senses," he said.
Both forward-facing and grounded in tradition, Morojele hopes that the city of the future is an environment where we can connect with our own nature, and commune with our surroundings. "A more sensual architecture," he explained. "And one that heightens your experience of the environment."