Skip to content

South Africa

Should I stay or should I go? Negotiating township tours in post-apartheid South Africa

An article by Shelley Ruth Butler on township tours  in South Africa has been published the the Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change. See the details below:

Should I stay or should I go? Negotiating township tours in post-apartheid South Africa

This article focuses on township tours outside Cape Town and Johannesburg during the past decade. By examining the subjectivities of guides and tourists, as well as public discourses about townships, I argue that township tours are ethically problematic and ambiguous, but do not go uncontested. Questions about voyeurism and development are negotiated during the tours in a number of ways. First, the morality of witnessing townships – not through the modality of vision, but through participating in contact zones  –  is asserted. Second, public discourses that valourize the creativity of the poor, and which harness history as a force for reconciliation and development, inform the  tours.  Third,  tour  guides  attempt  to  reform  charity  and  to  highlight  ethical consumption.  An  ethnographic  and  discursive  analysis  leads  me  to  conclude  that township  tours  are  part  of  a  larger  post-apartheid  project  of  re-imagining  and remaking marginalized urban spaces.

Reference:

Butler, S.R., 2010. Should I stay or should I go? Negotiating township tours in post-apartheid South Africa. Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, 8(1), pp.15-29. <URL>

This reference can now also be found in the bibliography section of this website.