edward cavanagh on the griqua past and the limits of south african history


Edward Cavanagh, The Griqua Past and the Limits of South African History, 1902-1994 (Oxford and Bern: Peter Lang, 2011).

The Griqua people are commonly misunderstood. Today, they do not figure in the South African imagination as other peoples do, nor have they for over a century. This book argues that their comparative invisibility is a result of their place in the national narrative.

In this revisionist analysis of South African historiography, the author analyses over a century’s worth of historical studies and identifies a number of narrative frameworks that have proven resilient to change over this time. The Griqua, in particular, have fared poorly compared to other peoples. They appear in, and disappear from, this body of work in a number of consistent ways, almost as though scholars have avoided re-imagining their history in ways relevant to the present. This book questions why that might be the case.


%d bloggers like this: