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Africanising The Symbolic Landscape: Post-Apartheid Monuments As 'Critical Response'

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Chapter Summary

This chapter elucidates the post-apartheid strategy of balancing the existing heritage landscape in South Africa and interrogating biased historical narratives through the establishment of new monuments placed in deliberate juxtaposition with existing markers. It discusses the Blood River/ Ncome monument and museum, tracing its genesis and establishing its significance as a model and trend setter in the region and in the country for the principle of countering existing, often contested monuments. The chapter highlights the complex and contradictory relationship between the desire to Africanise the symbolic landscape, which one might expect to include a search for African models of memory practice and African-based creative formats or visual languages, and compelling power and anxious tenacity of the Eurocentric model and Western-dominated conventions of monument design. It argues that the continued presence of existing monuments not only impacts on the ideological meaning of the new commemorative markers, but also on their design.

Keywords: Africanise; Blood River/ Ncome monument; heritage; monument design; post-apartheid monuments; South Africa; symbolic landscape



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