New book alert! Safari Nation: A Social History of the Kruger National Park by Jacob Dlamini
Safari Nation: A Social History of the Kruger National Park by Jacob Dlamini is out now from Jacana Media!
‘Safari Nation is about the beauty of the Kruger National Park, as well as the ugly side of that beauty. The book will have succeeded if it helps readers already familiar with the park renew their love for the park, and if it drives readers not acquainted with the park to fall in love with it. But, for both sets of readers, that must be critical love. It must be love rooted in history, not some cant about a pristine wilderness or, worse, some unspoiled Africa somewhere. To help preserve the KNP for posterity, we have to come to terms with its past while helping to prepare it for an uncertain future.’ – From the Introduction by Jacob Dlamini
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 Black people (meaning Africans, Coloured people 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 Black people 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.
About the author
Jacob Dlamini is an assistant professor of history at Princeton University and is a qualified field guide. He is the author of Askari: A Story of Collaboration and Betrayal in the Anti-Apartheid Struggle, for which he won the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award, Native Nostalgia, and more recently, The Terrorist Album.