South Africa is in crisis as the country descends into alarming levels of chaos, looting and vandalism. The spatial realities of our cities need to take a centre stage in our conversations now more than ever. Apartheid still exerts an insidious influence on what we are experiencing today; we are living within the constraints of what the architects of apartheid created for us. The built environment is not neutral — buildings and landscapes have meaning. We need to be as systematic and audacious as the apartheid planners, while being driven by values of equity, access and dignity. Do we understand the urgency of this now? Or will it take more destruction for us to understand that apartheid will only be relegated to the history books after we have successfully dismantled its inherited structures, including its spatial structures?