Publication Date



Shakespeare, South Africa, post-colonial world


In what ways has Shakespeare—as a collection of texts, as cultural capital, as a tool of a colonial education system as powerful as the bible and the gun—manifest in South African culture? Today I will sketch the presence of the past in a way which aims to draw out the South African in Shakespeare as much as the Shakespearean in South Africa. I do this following the post-colonial call to redress the imbalance of knowledges between the West and the Rest, and in order to break a simplistic cultural binary which posits “African,” colonized culture on one side and “European,” high culture on the other. There are ongoing debates about the details of this model of, variously, cultural hybridity, creolization, or trans- formation. Nevertheless, recognition of the synergy that occurs with the meeting of cultures, however unequally, is central to any understanding of the cultural conditions of a post-colonial world, and, ultimately, of post-apartheid South Africa.