Regarding South African images of Islam: From the picturesque to Pagad and after

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Abstract

In this article I trace the trajectory of images of Islam in South Africa from the tradition of the picturesque mode that had developed in the Cape during the colonial period when Muslims slaves constituted a significant part of the population of the colony, and were portrayed as submissive and compliant with the wishes of the slave-owning dominant society, to contemporary images of Islam in South African media, literature and art. The article analyses portrayals of the vigilante group Pagad in the South African mediayn the mid 1990s, accompanied by photographs of men masked by Palestinian scarves and characterised as militant and alienated, and argues that this starkly anachronistic set of images eventually constituted a new idiom for representing Islam in South Africa. I draw on interviews with journalists in the mainstream and Muslim media in South Africa to assess the impact of the Pagad stories on contemporary representations of Islam in the country, and end the article by considering the richly varied views of Islam evident in South African literature and culture in the twenty-first century.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-120
Number of pages18
JournalSouth African Historical Journal
Volume61
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 19 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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