From universal to local: perspectives on cultural landscape heritage in South Africa

M. Cocks*, S. Vetter, K.F. Wiersum

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The concept of cultural landscapes relates to the multifaceted links between
people, place and identity. From a professional perspective, the concept
refers to a category of designated conservation areas with specific biocultural
heritage values. From a local perspective, it may refer to a landscape that
is associated with the provision of a culturally-specific sense of identity
and belonging. We explore these two perspectives through a comparative
analysis of three cultural landscapes in South Africa, the ‘expert’ designated
Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape and the Richtersveld Cultural and
Botanical Landscape, and the local associative landscape of emaXhoseni,
which is not formally recognised. We propose that a biocultural diversity
perspective of heritage not only recognises the inextricable relationship
between nature and culture, but it also gives prominence to the beliefs,
values and practices of local people, and to strengthening their agency to
safeguard their heritage in ways and forms that are relevant to them.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-52
JournalInternational Journal of Heritage Studies
Issue number1
Early online date17 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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