By Sara Byala

A position That issues Yet reveals the little-known tale of Johannesburg’s MuseumAfrica, a South African heritage museum that embodies probably the most dynamic and fraught tales of colonialism and postcolonialism, its existence spanning the eras sooner than, in the course of, and after apartheid. Sara Byala, in studying this tale, sheds new gentle not just on racism and its institutionalization in South Africa but in addition at the difficulties dealing with any museum that's charged with navigating colonial historical past from a postcolonial perspective.

 

Drawing on thirty years of private letters and public writings through museum founder John Gubbins, Byala paints an image of a uniquely innovative colonist, targeting his philosophical idea of “three-dimensional thinking,” which aimed to go beyond binaries and thus—quite explicitly—racism. regrettably, Gubbins died inside weeks of the museum’s beginning, and his hopes might move unrealized because the museum fell according to emergent apartheid politics. Following the museum via this alteration and directly to its 1994 reconfiguration as a post-apartheid establishment, Byala showcases it as a rich—and problematic—archive of either fabric tradition and the guidelines that encompass that tradition, arguing for its persisted value within the institution of a unified South Africa.

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A Place That Matters Yet: John Gubbins's MuseumAfrica in the Postcolonial World by Sara Byala


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