“Nearly Naked”? Indigenous expressions of identity in a colonial world – Tradition and change in the San dress of Southern Africa.

  • Author: Vibeke M. Viestad
  • Topic: Theory and method
  • Country: Angola, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe
  • Related Congress: 13th Congress, Dakar

Dress; clothing, personal belongings and adornment is generally considered an important part of the ongoing process of creating and affirming personal and group identity. Enquiries related to how people dressed/dress, and why, form an important part of many archaeological and anthropological studies. Why is this not the case when it comes to the San people of Southern Africa? In presenting my ongoing PhD project I will try to give some answers to this question. I will also give some indications to what we can learn about colonial San communities through their dress and ornamentations as we now find it in the archaeological and anthropological collections of the South African
Museum in Cape Town.

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