In the Shadow of (Mis)Understanding South African Dance by Some Tourists


  • Maxwell Rani University of Cape Town



indigenous, urbanisation, modernisation, adaptable tradition, tourism


This article will explore the (mis)understanding of African dance by some tourists. Visitors to South Africa often look for “traditional African dancing,” and discredit the African contemporary dance forms. To understand this misperception, the author will draw from different social theories including those proposed by authors such as Hegel and Maine. Rooted in Maine’s theory, the article will explain how the Western world still perceives Africa as a traditional society whose traditions are static, unchanging, and in need of protection from Western influence. In line with what Hegel said, the generalisation of the continent of Africa as the “Dark Continent” that does not produce knowledge or has no history still influences today’s perception of culture in its countries. This article states that there is a great need for education and a shift in people’s mentality regarding how Africa and Africans are viewed and thus how its cultural components such as dance are perceived.



How to Cite

Rani, Maxwell. 2020. “In the Shadow of (Mis)Understanding South African Dance by Some Tourists”. Southern African Journal for Folklore Studies 30 (1):16 pages.



Received 2020-04-24
Accepted 2021-02-17
Published 2021-03-15