n English in Africa - The idea of gardening : plants, bewilderment, and indigenous identity in South Africa

Volume 33, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0376-8902



While 'flora' have provided South African stamp designers with a portmanteau iconography of place able to represent both the national and an ostensibly apolitical 'natural history,' gardening, indigenous or otherwise, is not a prominent subject in South African literary-cultural analysis. Nor is it especially visible in South African imaginative writing, although those offshoots of indigeneity considered to be of greater national-cultural consequence - identity, language, heritage - have enjoyed comparative attention. Gardening?s close cousins, 'conservation,' 'the/environment,' 'the land,' 'the farm,' do feature, possibly because these intersect, at the levels of materiality and metaphor, with the South African historical dramas of colonialism, apartheid and the postcolonial, the last being an in-between space where new intellectual growth areas and growing numbers of researchers over-run the manicured lawns of the G8 club and even threaten to unsettle the more open field of English Studies.

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