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Cultural Heritage Conservation And Policy

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the contested nature of the public memory landscape in a changing South Africa and the development of new policies and legislative frameworks to regulate and guide both the identification of 'new heritage' and treatment of the existing heritage. Following a brief consideration of South Africa's history of conservation practices, it investigates the public and political debate around heritage representing the old order during the transition and immediate post-election period. Author believes that in the fragile context of South African transition of power, the radical removal of symbols of the 'white heritage' would have been politically and economically unwise. Publicly, however, as reflected in media reports by various officials and community leaders, the decision to preserve colonial era monuments was defended primarily on the basis of moral arguments around reconciliation and the need for public reminders of a painful past 'to remember where we are coming from'.

Keywords: conservation; cultural heritage; debate; monuments; policies; South Africa; transition



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