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n South African Journal of Cultural History - The Chinese in the early Cape Colony : a significant cultural minority

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Abstract

Chinese South Africans form one of the smallest culturally identifiable communities in South African society. Despite their demographic insignificance, and contrary to popular belief, they have been an integral part of this country's multicultural identity since the inception of European hegemony in the Cape in the latter half of the seventeenth century. This article proposes to take a closer look at the presence and cultural identity of the Chinese community in the colonial Cape. While remaining a physically and culturally identifiable and relatively insular group, they were later to become one of the first communities in South African history to be singled out and discriminated against in a blatantly racist manner. It will be argued that besides their own markers of cultural identity, the manner in which they were portrayed, perceived of, treated and discriminated against, contributed to their cultural visibility and in turn possibly entrenched a cultural cohesion.


Die Chinese Suid-Afrikaners vorm een van die kleinste kulturele erkenbare gemeenskappe in die Suid-Afrikaanse samelewing. Maar ten spyte van hierdie demografiese geringheid, en in teenstelling met die algemene opvatting, was hulle reeds van die begin van Europese heerskappy aan die Kaap in die tweede helfte van die sewentiende eeu 'n integrale deel van die land se multikulturele identiteit. Hierdie artikel gee 'n nadere blik op die teenwoordigheid en kulturele identiteit van die Chinese gemeenskap in die koloniale Kaap. Terwyl hulle 'n fisies en kultureel erkenbare en betreklik insulêre groep gebly het, was hulle een van die eerste gemeenskappe wat later in die Suid-Afrikaanse geskiedenis uitgesoek en op 'n blatante rassistiese wyse teen gediskrimineer is. Dit sal aangetoon word dat hulle eienskappe van kulturele identiteit, die wyse waarvolgens hulle uitgebeeld, beskou, behandel en teen gediskrimineer is, tot hulle kulturele sigbaarheid bygedra het, wat op sy beurt moontlik 'n kulturele samehorigheid verskans het.

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/content/culture/23/2/EJC30761
2009-11-01
2016-12-09
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