Unlayering the Intangible: Post-Truth in the Post-Rainbow nation

Whelan, Deborah (2018) Unlayering the Intangible: Post-Truth in the Post-Rainbow nation. Journal of African Cultural Heritage . ISSN 2513-8243

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Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive


In KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, intangible heritage has for some time been a component of provincial legislation, with the promulgation of the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Heritage Resources Act no 10 of 1997. Indeed, whilst the province in South Africa was one of the first in the world to legislate for intangible heritage, its complex demographics have allowed for the inclusion of aspects of the intangible for many years. This paper will begin with discussing the intangible heritages of the province in general before examining the position of intangible heritage in its multiple facets in the approaches towards the understanding of heritage in the province. Amongst other contextual information, it will examine the histories of religious groups such as the Shembe to understand that intangible heritage is not merely the mothballing of memory, but contemporary, dynamic, and an agent of change, rather than a static concept clutched in the grasp of western thought. It will critically assess as to whether the presentation of such culture is sustainable, and the degree to which authenticity, on the part of the viewer, and authenticity on the part of the participant, is of value in to continuous production of culture. It will conclude by suggesting that intangible heritage itself is a process of authenticity, and that the authentic is a product of the action, the tradition, the interpretation and the immaterial, rather than a staid repetition of a constant externally understood framework of logical definitions which intend to view, digest and describe a system or ritual in order to understand it.

Keywords:Shembe, Intangible Heritage, Monument and memorial, authenticity
Subjects:D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D445 Heritage Management
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Architecture)
ID Code:33935
Deposited On:31 Oct 2018 15:07

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