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Trespassing as a way of being: ancestral heritage in South Africa

My study of prehistoric art in the Northern Cape, South Africa probes the quest for an authentic past in relation to the region’s complex, layered history, from ancient traces to contemporary concerns. In the context of the current debate of “land” and “land appropriation”, rather than heritage, I rely on the figure of “trespass” to offer a more revealing lens for the contested nature of this particular space. The concept allows me to include a wider array of voices in the story surrounding ancient engraved images, and invite viewers of the project to consider the entangled
relationships between those who came through the Karoo. Between geological deposits of diamonds, archaeological finds of early human origins, San engravings, and the resettlement of the San members of the South African Infantry Battalion in Platfontein, the land in the Northern Cape is a highly contested space. The prehistoric past and the notions of what it means “to be human today” are imbricated in this space. The project expands and complicates the narrative. The stories of the present and historic communities in the area add nuance and complexity to the understanding of claims on ancient, recent past and the present in South Africa.


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Is any information on this page incorrect or outdated? Please notify Ms. Nel-Mari Loock at [email protected].