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South Africa Overview

Patricia Davison

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

South Africa offers a rich field for exploring the symbolic language of dress in the varied contexts of everyday life. It is a country of many cultural layers, with eleven official languages and a relatively recent history of racial segregation and imposed ethnically based “homelands.” After 1994, however, when South Africa became a multiparty democracy, the new nation aspired to be united in its diversity, even though the inequalities of the past remained embedded in many social institutions and

Women’s Cooperatives and Self-Help Artists

Kimberly Miller and Brenda Schmahmann

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Africa 2010

Encyclopedia entry

During the 1980s and 1990s, a number of art-making cooperatives were set up to address the dire poverty of communities in South Africa as well as so-called homelands such as Gazankulu and Bophuthatswana. Some catered to men and women, coupling an imperative to generate income for members with an agenda to protest against apartheid through the creation of art. The majority, however, catered specifically to women who, in addition to being denied human rights and economic opportunities through apart

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