On belonging: landscape and photography in South Africa

Burger, Francki
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Abstract This research thesis examines how place, space and landscape constitute belonging. I discuss the different meanings of place: how it figures in relation to geography, space and landscape and how place constitutes a sense of belonging. My interest lies in how people, especially the Afrikaner, constructed and imagined space, place and landscape in South Africa to assert identity and belonging; also, how land and landscape act as an ideological tool, in which social, cultural and political meanings are embedded. I concentrate on how photography assisted in shaping the geographical imagination of the British Empire, to assess how it impacted on place and belonging in South Africa. The concluding chapter examines my practical work while completing my masters degree. I investigate landscape, history, memory and identity through photography in an attempt to find a sense of belonging. I explore how the photographic image may contain layers of meaning ‘underneath’ its immediate perceived and physical surface, in an attempt to evoke history and memory.