Safari Nation opens new lines of inquiry into the study of national parks in Africa and the rest of the world.
The Kruger National Park is South Africa’s most iconic nature reserve, renowned for its rich flora and fauna. According to Dlamini, there is another side to the park, a social history neglected by scholars and popular writers alike in which blacks (meaning Africans, coloureds and Indians) occupy centre stage. Safari Nation details the ways in which black people devoted energies to conservation and to the park over the course of the twentieth century – an engagement that transcends the stock (black) figure of the labourer and the poacher.
By exploring the complex and dynamic ways in which blacks of varying class, racial, religious and social backgrounds related to the Kruger National Park, and with the help of previously unseen archival photographs, Dlamini’s narrative also sheds new light on how and why Africa’s national parks – often derided by scholars as colonial impositions – survived the end of white rule on the continent. Relying on oral histories, photographs and archival research, Safari Nation engages both with African historiography and with ongoing debates about the ‘land question’, democracy and citizenship in South Africa.