Engagement with Colonial and Apartheid Narratives in Contemporary South Africa: A Monumental Debate

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Summary: This article engages with current debates around colonial and apartheid era narratives in South Africa with a focus on heritage. The heritage landscape, receptacle of the nation’s dominant ideology, was the place from where current calls were made for the removal of colonial and apartheid era commemorations in the public sphere and the decolonisation of the intellectual landscape. Applying the notion of identity as exclusivist and the ideological function of heritage, the article argues that protestors calling for the removal of colonial and apartheid-era statues and the decolonisation of South African universities have their epistemic roots in a discourse aligned with a struggle for recognition of heritage and contestation for the disarticulation of certain other heritages. In this way, memory and forgetting are symbiotic, reflecting the needs of the current generation. Public attacks on the commemorative landscape voice resistance to official hegemonic narratives, constituting developing consideration of and diverse perspectives engaging with systems of power. Randomly sampled online comments provide further context to the debate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-128
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Literary Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory


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