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A Place That Matters YetJohn Gubbins’s MuseumAfrica in the Postcolonial World$
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Sara Byala

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226030272

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226030449.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
A Place That Matters Yet

Sara Byala

University of Chicago Press

This book proposes that the climate of neglect that surrounds MuseumAfrica reflects larger ideas about the place of colonial institutions in the postcolonial, and in this case postapartheid, even post-transition, order. Cast as products of discredited worldviews, colonial relics—like museums, archives, and libraries, to name a few—are seen as being contaminated by the racist worlds that bore them. In the Africanist climate of present-day South Africa, these visual reminders of the past are further eschewed for being, as Leslie Witz puts it, at odds with “Africanness” itself. Undoubtedly, this position has the weight of history on its side; many if not all of these cultural institutions were created under the reign of undemocratic, oppressive regimes and were, in fact, technologies that helped sustain unequal rule.

Keywords:   neglect, MuseumAfrica, colonial institutions, colonial relics, racist worlds, Leslie Witz

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