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n South African Journal of Cultural History - Konteks en kultuurhistoriese betekenis van die melkstoeltjie, soos uitgebeeld in kinderlektuur en politieke spotprente

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Abstract

Die nederige melkstoeltjie word gewoonlik slegs met melkery geassosieer. Hier word ondersoek ingestel na 'n breër begrip van konteks en kultuurhistoriese betekenis aan die hand van enkele illustrasies in Engelse en Afrikaanse kinderlektuur - veral prenteboeke en rymbundels - en uitbeeldings in Suid-Afrikaanse politieke spotprente. Verbande met 'n skamel en edel landelike, selfs landboukundige bestaan, figureer in illustrasies uit kinderboeke waar drie- en vierpootstoeltjies as doelbewuste, of toevallige, rekwisiete voorkom. In beeld dra die grootte van die voorwerp hier by tot 'n intieme skaal. Dit dien, minstens in kinderlektuur tot laat in die twintigste eeu, as geloofwaardige en herkenbare voorwerpe waarvan die grootte en eenvoud toeganklik vir die jong kyker en leser was.


In Suid-Afrikaanse politieke spotprente dien driepotige melkstoeltjies verder as kenbare simbool van 'n kwesbare ewewig in die politiek, waar die strukturele stabiliteit en interafhanklikheid van drie pote metafories verbeeld word. Hierdie metafoor word ook so gebruik in eietydse vakliteratuur in Engels, Nederlands en Vlaams. Die tradisionele begrip van die amper-vergete melkstoeltjie leef dus deur beeldspraak in die 21ste eeu voort.


The humble milking stool is usually associated only with dairy production. This article investigates a broader context and socio-historical meaning portrayed in selected illustrations in English and Afrikaans children's literature - especially picture books and volumes of rhyme - and depictions in South African political cartoons. In children's books, where three- and four-legged milking stools appear as either purposeful or accidental theatrical properties, they represent a meagre and noble rural, even agrarian, existence. For their size, they often contribute to the setting of an intimate scale. At least until late in the twentieth century, they are employed as credible and recognisable objects of a scale and simplicity that is easily accessible to the young viewer and reader.
Three-legged milking stools especially serve as symbols of a vulnerable stability in South African political cartoons, where the structural stability and co-dependence of three legs are often portrayed metaphorically. This metaphor is also widely used in contemporary English, Dutch and Flemish scholarly texts. Through this figure of speech, the traditional notion of the almost forgotten milking stool survives into the twenty first century.

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/content/culture/25/2/EJC30811
2011-11-01
2016-12-03
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