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n Historia - African encounters with the sea : Durban and beyond : keynote address

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Abstract

Keynote address delivered at the Biennial Conference (History Wars, Wars in History & other Southern African Histories) of the Historical Association of South Africa conference, Durban, University of KwaZulu-Natal, 26-28 June 2014


This article presents an overview of the relationship between what is now the KwaZulu-Natal coast and the Indian Ocean, from the perspective of what has been called an "amphibious" history of land-sea relationships. It discusses two broad approaches to the study of the Indian Ocean, one concerned more with politics, economy and technology, and another that focuses more on subjectivities and cultural exchange, to show how south-eastern Africa's place in the Indian Ocean imaginary varies according to which of these perspectives is adopted. It then examines the historical evidence concerning the relationship to the ocean of those who have lived and worked along this coast, focusing largely on the port of Durban. Finally it examines the linkages between the littoral and those who have gone to sea, whether as seafarers or different kinds of passengers. The conclusion is that there is still much to be uncovered about this stretch of coast in the Indian Ocean, if we ask the appropriate sorts of questions.

Hierdie artikel bied 'n oorsig aan van die verhouding tussen dít wat tans die kus van KwaZulu-Natal uitmaak en die Indiese Oseaan. Dit geskied vanuit die perspektief van wat as 'n "amfibiese" geskiedenis van land-en-seeverhoudinge bekend staan. Twee benaderings tot die studie van die Indiese Oseaan word gevolg - een meer gefokus op die politiek, ekonomie en tegnologie, en die ander op subjektiwiteite en kulturele uitruiling - om aan te toon hoe die posisie van suidoos Afrika in die Indiese Oseaan verbeelding varieer na aanleiding van die perspektief wat aangelê word. Daarna eksamineer die artikel die historiese bewyse rakende die verhouding tot die oseaan van dié wat langs die kus gewoon en gewerk het. Die fokus is grootliks op die hawe van Durban. Ten slotte word die verwantskappe tussen die land en dié wat die see in is, of hul seevaarders of passasiers was, ondersoek. Die gevolgtrekking is dat daar nog baie oor is om ontdek te word van hierdie deel van die kuslyn van die Indiese Oseaan, mits ons die regte vrae stel.

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/content/hist/59/2/EJC163414
2014-11-01
2016-12-08
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