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Creating/Curating Cultural Capital: Monuments and Museums for Post-Apartheid South Africa

Author(s): Elizabeth Rankin

Journal: Humanities
ISSN 2076-0787

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 72;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: South African museums | South African monuments | cultural capital | transformation | Apartheid Museum | Freedom Park

Since the first democratic elections in 1994, South Africa has faced the challenge of creating new cultural capital to replace old racist paradigms, and monuments and museums have been deployed as part of this agenda of transformation. Monuments have been inscribed with new meanings, and acquisition and collecting policies have changed at existing museums to embrace a wider definition of culture. In addition, a series of new museums, often with a memorial purpose, has provided opportunities to acknowledge previously marginalized histories, and honor those who opposed apartheid, many of whom died in the Struggle. Lacking extensive collections, these museums have relied on innovative concepts, not only the use of audio-visual materials, but also the metaphoric deployment of sites and the architecture itself, to create affective audience experiences and recount South Africa’s tragic history under apartheid.
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