n English in Africa - Nudity, clothing and cultural identity in some South African children's books




South African children's stories written by white writers often draw attention to the customary nudity or near-nudity of children. They also depict children assuming the dress of another culture, which usually entails black children covering their nakedness or white children undressing. Often boys of different cultures undress and swim together. In these stories, clothing and the state of dress or undress are signifiers of culture. The authors use them to portray what they think the views of the characters are about differences in culture, while at the same time revealing their own attitudes.


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