Staging a nation
The Voortrekker Monument and Freedom Park
in South African performance and archives of memory
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This chapter looks at how at moments of political crisis or transition, specific narratives of history, from particular cultural perspectives, have been performed in public spaces to define national identities. It begins by looking at how South Africa narrated and performed itself in the 1910 South African Pageant of Union. The chapter then explores how the Afrikaner struggle for independence. It compares the renegotiation of the meaning of the Voortrekker Monument as a site of memory in the post-apartheid context with Freedom Park, which is twinned with this Monument. The chapter also looks at how the past is being redefined, how new and formerly marginalised symbols and memories are being incorporated into South Africa's re-narration of itself. It draws on Benedict Anderson's concept of nation as an 'imagined community' that is unified by particular symbols, narratives and unities of history.


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