A history of transculturation in South Africa

It is often debated whether the so-called “Cape Coloured” people in South Africa have a culture of their own. This paper uses the trajectory of the Cape Coloured identity as a paradigm through which culture can be viewed as dynamic, transformative and appropriative as a result of a violent colonial history. Colonialism had irrevocable effects on previously bounded, essentialist constructions of race, identity and language. The paper thus seeks to explore the question: How can the Cape Coloured identity re-conceptualize essentialist notions of culture through a history of cultural appropriation?

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