*Electronic Theses and Dissertations (Masters)

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    Man-The-Shaman is it the Whole Story? A Feminist Perspective on the San Rock Art of Southern Africa
    (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 1995-06) Stevenson, Judith S.
    Ethnographic accounts show that both shamanic and gender rituals play a critical role in San culture. Although 30% of the women and 50% of the men become shamans, the literature investigating San rock art frequently defines 'Man-the-Shaman' and minimizes the feasibility of female depictions of this important social role. Prior rock art research has tended to separate shamanic and gender processes to the impoverishment of both. This dissertation investigates the symbolic connections between these two social spheres, and argues that they are inseparable. Through this examination of gender and shamanic roles in San society this dissertation argues that metaphors reflect these two social spheres. It also argues that metaphors are a way of life which are expressed both in reality and non-reality. With these points in mind, it investigates the role of men and women as related to San rock art through social roles.
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    Africanfuturism, placing Africa in the future: an analysis of Pumzi (2009) and Afronauts (2014)
    (2023) Shirinde, Karabelo
    Taking into consideration Africa’s long historical relationship with colonialism, alienation and currently neo-colonialism, ‘africanfuturism’ a sub-genre of science fiction and the focus of this study, brings forward the necessity of rooting African science fiction films in the continent of Africa, created by Black people of African descent and ensuring that narratives are driven by the histories, daily social-political and cultural experiences of the people within the continent. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate how the African science fiction films Pumzi (2009) directed by Wanuri Kahiu, and Afronauts (2014) directed by Nuotama Frances Bodumo portray africanfuturism. This study used a developed africanfuturist framework inspired by the description of africanfuturism by author Nnedi Okorafor (2019) and Masego Mashigo (2018). The chosen case study films were analysed according to africanfuturist components, namely: iconography, ideology, geopolitical and socio-cultural background, semiotics and symbolism, and the filmmaker’s profile to determine the extent to which they portray africanfuturism. Further research objectives of this study included the discussion on how Western science fiction films present colonial conventions and the difference between afrofuturism and africanfuturism within the literature review. With the application of the developed africanfuturist framework, this study concludes that both Pumzi (2009) and Afronauts (2014) successfully portray africanfuturism in the capacity of their geological settings, ideological viewpoints, socio-economic and political representations and local cultural symbolisms within the continent. Finally, both films present a nuanced understanding and portrayal of science and technology as it relates to the African continent, and further dismantles preconceived notions about the African continent as described by the West. These representations essentially redefine the relationship between Africa and the science fiction genre by clearly demonstrating, transforming and representing the continent within an imaginative and realist space, coupled with scientific, technological and globalist expressions.
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    A visual-temporal excavation of Schaapplaats rock shelter: unearthing a trace fossil
    (2021) Yorke, Naudia
    In this research report, I set out to provide information about Schaapplaats rock shelter through a multi-sensory, ekphrastic approach as set out by the artist William Kentridge1 to guide the process of looking. As such this project presents an experience of space and time compressed within a single landscape. The research foregrounds the different ways of looking and different ways of perceiving the elements in the landscape. Schaapplaats is a farm located in the eastern Free State. A rock shelter at Schaapplaats which I examine contains a number of objects and traces that relate to various moments in time. The site is an event-loaded spatial nexus which I unpack, closely examining each object to expose the complex layering of objects and traces of events over time. My aim in examining the site in this way is to interrogate the variety of elements in the rock shelter to understand the complicated nature of time and the reading of it in objects. My methodology involves the slow process of describing and pulling-apart the objects, fieldwork that is primarily comprised of being in the space, and visually constructing and reconstructing the space and the elements within it – with a particular focus on the trace fossil (a dinosaur footprint) present in the space. The result is a reflective paper that considers meanings that could be drawn from a singular item, in conjunction with a number of other items within a space that is complex in its variety of traces and temporally layered.
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    Beneath the violence: a performance as a research inquiry into the use of performance as a rite of passage to better understand black masculinity
    (2021) Johnson, Jermain
    The purpose of this Performance as Research project was to gain a better understanding of black masculinity in urban Johannesburg, and the underlying different narratives of young black men in contemporary South Africa. This Performance as Research project made use of Applied Theatre techniques, Drama Therapy techniques and auto-ethnography as methods of inquiry to facilitate data collection and the creation of performances. It also included, specifically, autobiographical work, Invisible Theatre, and Self-Revelatory performance. The research locates itself within the Creative Research framework, as the dialogue on black masculinity was largely articulated through a creative process (a series of applied drama social inquiries) and a performance (pre, during and post). The researcher made use of movement as the medium to argue for the use of performance as a rite of passage to potentially transform held narratives on black masculinity, and to question the extent of the transformation
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    Writing history through the hammer: an analysis of knowledge production through the South African auction houses
    (2021) Maharaj, Arisha
    This research will be examining the South African fine art auction houses, which make up the local secondary art market. There is currently very limited research on the local secondary market and the existing studies are largely done from a quantitative perspective on the economic value of art. This has created a knowledge gap for a qualitative study. The aim of this research is to locate the position of the art historical knowledge produced through the art auctions and motivate the placement of this historical knowledge in the larger landscape, as it comes from the bias perspective of a business. Through secondary research and an in-depth study into the functions and objectives of the local auction houses, the ways in which art historical knowledge is produced will be determined and its placement in the larger historical landscape will be argued. Drawing on the concepts of discourse, representation, cultural capital and power and knowledge from theorists Stuart Hall and Pierre Bourdieu, this will provide the theoretical framework for the research.