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THE POLITICS OF MOUNTAINEERING AT THE CAPE, FROM THE LATE FIFTEENTH CENTURY TO THE PRESENT

Dr Farieda Khan, environmental and sports historian

This course explores and analyses the politics of mountaineering for recreation at the Cape from its roots in the late fifteenth century. During the colonial era, the factors of race and class governed interaction with Table Mountain, with the elite going on walks and having lavish picnics on the summit of Table Mountain or making scientific observations and collecting botanical specimens. During these mountain excursions, they were usually accompanied by their servants and slaves, who acted as guides, serving feasts to the pleasure-seekers and carrying the specimens gathered by scientists. The racial hierarchy of colonial society was reflected in mountain climbing, as would be seen in the establishment of the exclusively white Mountain Club of South Africa. This course also examines leisure interaction with the mountain by black communities and the establishment of the Cape Province Mountain Club.

 

 

LECTURE TITLES

1. From pastoralists and pleasure-seekers to carriers and climbers – late fifteenth century to early twentieth century

2. Race, class and the politics of climbing the Table Mountain chain –  early twentieth century to the present

 

Recommended reading

Burman, J. 1966. A Peak to Climb – The Story of South African Mountaineering. Cape Town: C Struik.

Khan, F. 2018. ‘A Guardian of the Mountain – Patrick Pasqualle: Mountaineer, Nature Lover, Environmental Educator’. Veld & Flora, 104 (2).

Kruger, J. 2016. On Top of Table Mountain – Remarkable Visitors over Five Hundred Years. Paternoster: Paternoster Books.

van Sittert, L. 2003. ‘The bourgeois eye aloft: Table Mountain in the Anglo Urban Middle Class Imagination, c.1891–1952’. Kronos – Journal of Cape History 29: 161–190.

 

 

Date: Thursday 10 – Friday 11 January 
Time: 1.00 pm
COURSE FEES Full: R220,00  Staff: R100,00  Reduced: R110,00
Venue: LT2 Kramer Law Building UCT