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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Claiming Cape Town: towards a symbolic interpretation of Khoisan activism and land claims
Author:Verbuyst, RafaelISNI
Periodical:Anthropology Southern Africa (ISSN 2332-3264)
Geographic term:South Africa
indigenous peoples
land rights
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/23323256.2016.1171159
Abstract:Current political negotiations in South Africa which explore the possibility of pre-1913 land claims and the recognition of Khoisan traditional authorities have spurred the growth of the 'Khoisan revival': the phenomenon of people identifying as Khoisan and asserting indigenous rights. Based on fieldwork conducted in Cape Town in 2014 and 2015, this paper discusses the motivations and strategies of several Khoisan activists. After outlining the political context of the Khoisan revival, the author shows how activists make claims and demands through the use of popular imagery and a global indigenous rights discourse. While producing valuable insights, this 'strategic essentialist' approach inadequately addresses motivations for claiming land. Based on a discussion of several case studies, the author argues that claiming land functions not so much as a means of procuring physical or economic spaces, but as a way for activists to express grievances regarding coloured identity, history and healing. This symbolic interpretation prompts the reconceptualisation of land claims within the restitution paradigm and policy negotiations. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]