Die potensiële problematiek van kulturele toeëiening in Hosh Tokolosh
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This research investigates questions of cultural appropriation in the music video Hosh Tokolosh by Gazelle, Jack Parow, and Louis Minnaar. Cultural appropriation is a complex psychological game, encumbered with issues of injustice. The construct broadly refers to the unwarranted use and appropriation of marginalised cultures’ cultural products by a prevailing culture that is not bound to that culture. Although acts of cultural appropriation are not new, it has only recently gained media attention, emphasising the need for critical conversations surrounding culture. In this dissertation, I investigate cultural appropriation in a threefold way: 1) as a representation of an asymmetric power landscape 2) as containing and propagating protagonistic and antagonistic elements and 3) as problematically reducing culture to merely a costume. Hosh Tokolosh is ostensibly a comical, frivolous depiction of a Southern African narrative. Through further exploration it appears, however, that the music video is laden with more issues than is immediately apparent. The conceptualisers portray cultural products, such as the tale of the Tokoloshe, to which they are not culturally entitled in order to construct an entertaining music video. I argue that Hosh Tokolosh does not represent one “direct”, apparent form of cultural appropriation but rather encompasses an entanglement of appropriation. Through the position of superiority of its conceptualisers, the music video recreates a landscape of inequality. Hence, a center and a margin are constructed, which, in the case of the music video, is enacted by the characters visualised by Gazelle and Parow and the Tokoloshe respectively. In my view, culture is reduced when cultural narratives and symbolism of stereotypical African referents are propagated – especially when it is packaged as comical and used for entertainment. In the process, cultures are degraded to homogeneous stereotypes that lead to the commodification of culture. The music video frames and uses culture as a costume leading to the perpetuation of an unequal cultural playground, thereby enabling culture appropriation.
- Humanities