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Title:Animal likenesses: dogs and the boundary of the human in South Africa
Author:Baderoon, GabebaISNI
Periodical:Journal of African Cultural Studies (ISSN 1469-9346)
Geographic term:South Africa
race relations
Abstract:The dog is a charged and powerful symbol in South Africa. Racialized canine invective played a formative role in colonial efforts to dispossess Africans of land. However, the symbolic meanings of dogs in South African culture range far beyond insult. Recent portrayals of canines have turned suggestively, if equivocally, from denigration toward signalling post-apartheid racial authenticity. To reflect on this shift, the author draws on academic and popular writing about dog-human relations in South Africa, among them political discourse, popular media, tweets and the use of 'animal likenesses' in the essay 'The year of the dog' by Njabulo Ndebele, the novel 'Disgrace' by J. M. Coetzee, and a series of photographs of Africanis dogs by the artist Daniel Naudé. Through this examination, the author considers the ambivalent emblem of the dog beyond the framework of either abuse or authenticity, to consider it as a barometer of critical shifts in notions of race in South African culture. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]