chapter  4
Nationalising the past, internationalising the present
ByAshton Sinamai
Pages 29

The nomination of Vredefort Dome in South Africa was greeted with great fanfare that showed although the process of nomination internationalised the heritage place, it also fed into cultural nationalism. Monuments thus become simply illustrations in a nationalist text, meant to bring goodwill from other nations and infuse a sense of nationhood to a domestic audience as well. In southern Africa where several countries such as South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia experienced violent transitions from racially divided colonies to universally elected government, this imagining and re-imaging has both local and international connotations. By the 1950s, however, international organisations were referring to 'cultural property', stressing possession and ownership. After the brutal suppression of Ndebele nationalism in Zimbabwe during the 1980s, national symbols began to be questioned in light of new and developing identities. Heritage is used to project the new nation onto the international stage through its declaration as universal heritage, as well as its marketing as a tourism attraction.