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Title: The Tokoloshe and cultural identity in post-apartheid South Africa
Author: Nel, Darryl Stephen
ISNI:       0000 0004 7960 6266
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2018
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The 'Tokoloshe' is an enigmatic and constantly-evolving supernatural phenomenon rooted in traditional belief and prevalent in the everyday lives of many South Africans. This study provides a detailed, composite understanding of the Tokoloshe phenomenon. It also considers, by means of contextual analysis, what representations of the Tokoloshe suggest about shifts in cultural identity in contemporary South Africa by referring to five products from Zef Culture and Speculative Fiction: Die Antwoord's song and music video, 'Evil Boy'; Jack Parow's song and music video, 'Hosh Tokolosh'; Diane Awerbuck's short story, 'Leatherman'; Andrew Salomon's novel, Tokoloshe Song; and Charlie Human's novel, Apocalypse Now Now. It does so by examining the socio-historic contexts of the works, characterisations, representations of landscape and environment, and portrayals of social issues such as violence, prejudice, morality and tradition. In each of the works, South Africa's past is pervasive, and the present is characterised by moral, social and physical decay in worlds where violence, including sexual violence, and racism/xenophobia thrive. These worlds are distinguished by their cultural hybridity, heterogeneity, linguistic mixing and cultural borrowing, and the artists use their works to explore what it means to be white or Afrikaans, to be female and sexual, to come of age, or to be free from persecution; all within a post-Apartheid context. This study recognises how the formation of, and shifts in, cultural identity in the post-Apartheid present are significantly influenced by South Africa's Apartheid past; that the transformation and identity (re)formation processes are particularly traumatic; and that the formation of South Africans' respective hybrid cultural identities is informed by their national, Pan African and global contexts.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral