Eoan, Assimilation, and the Charge of 'Coloured Culture'

Juliana Pistorius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The notions of coloured identity and culture remain as contentious today as they were during the apartheid era. While greater degrees of agency and self-determination inform the making of coloured racial groupings in contemporary South African discourse, controversies surrounding depictions of coloured communities regularly serve as poignant reminders that little clarity exists about what ‘coloured culture’ actually means. This article traces the ambivalent history of this concept by looking specifically at its application to the Eoan Opera Group. Reading their operatic activities through the lens of cultural assimilation, I argue that their ideals in fact represented the exact opposite to what the charge of ‘coloured culture’ accused them of. I therefore show that the accusation of fostering ‘coloured culture’ levelled at the Eoan Group was informed by their political affiliations, rather than the content of their cultural endeavours.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-415
Number of pages27
JournalSAMUS: South African Music Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


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