1st Edition

Heritage Formation and the Senses in Post-Apartheid South Africa Aesthetics of Power

By Duane Jethro Copyright 2020
    216 Pages
    by Routledge

    216 Pages
    by Routledge

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    In this book, Duane Jethro creates a framework for understanding the role of the senses in processes of heritage formation. He shows how the senses were important for crafting and successfully deploying new, nation-building heritage projects in South Africa during the postapartheid period. The book also highlights how heritage dynamics are entangled in evocative, changing sensory worlds.Jethro uses five case studies that correlate with the five main Western senses. Examples include touch and the ruination of a series of art memorials; how vision was mobilised to assert the authority of the state-sponsored Freedom Park project in Pretoria; how smell memories of apartheid-era social life in Cape Town informed contemporary struggles for belonging after forced removal; how taste informed debates about the attempted rebranding of Heritage Day as barbecue day; and how the sound of the vuvuzela, popularized during the FIFA 2010 Football World Cup, helped legitimize its unofficial African and South African heritage status.This book makes a valuable contribution to the field of sensory studies and, with its focus on aesthetics and material culture, is in sync with the broader material turn in the humanities.

    List of Figures  Acknowledgements  Introduction  1. Freedom Park: Visualising the Post-Apartheid Nation  2. Touching Memorials: Ruination, Public Feeling and the Sunday Times Heritage Project  3. Fragrances and Forced Removal: Memory, Smell and Urban Displacement in Cape Town  4. Vuvuzela Magic: Sound, Football and Plastic Post-Apartheid Heritage  5. Braai Nation: Taste, Consumption and South African Commemorative Days  Conclusion


    Duane Jethro is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage, Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany.

    "Taking the senses as point of departure in analyzing 21st-century heritage politics in South-Africa, Duane Jethro has set out an admirably persuasive study. Grounded in anthropology, art history, material culture and memory studies, Jethro’s sensuous case-studies intertwine the lingering presence of apartheid with today’s nationalism, popular culture, the market and the involvement of diverse, engaged publics. The author’s innovative approach reaches well beyond a merely scholarly interest in South-Africa." - Irene Stengs, Meertens Institute, the Netherlands

    "Concentrating on Freedom Park, the Sunday Times Heritage Project, the Vuvuzela and the politics of commemorative days, this is a timely study of heritage formation in South Africa that emphasises senses and sensibilities, the politics of authentication and an 'aesthetics of persuasion'. It adds substantially to the field of heritage in South Africa, and also draws attention to the significance experience, embodiment and smell for understanding heritage." - Ciraj Rassool, University of the Western Cape, South Africa