The tourist viewer, the Bushmen and the Zulu : imaging and (re)invention of identities through contemporary visual cultural productions.
Mhiripiri, Nhamo Anthony.
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The thesis is an ethnographic exploration of the visual performances of the (≠Khomani) Bushmen of the Northern Cape and the Zulu from KwaZulu-Natal of South Africa. I investigate how the ≠Khomani and the Zulu involved in the cultural tourism industry are using archetypical tropes of ethnicity, and how they recreate these in the process of formulating context-specific identities in contemporary South Africa. The Bushmen and Zulu iconography that is ubiquitous is read against the modern day quotidian lives of the people concerned. The role and participation of tourists and researchers (anthro-tourists) in the performative culture of cultural tourism is investigated. An opportunity is also taken to critique the artistic creations of Vetkat Kruiper which partly arise because of the need to satisfy a tourism industry interested in Bushman arts and artefacts. Similarly his wife’s ‘biographical’ book Kalahari Rainsong (2004) is critiqued interactively and allows me to appreciate my encounters with people and text in the Kalahari. My visits to cultural villages where either the Zulu or the Bushman self-perform permit me to indulge in critical performative writing in which I also investigate the role and place of (anthro)tourists in the reinvention of site-specific identities.