19th Century Humanities


“Handjobs in South Africa – Tangible typography” is an art project by Jedd Luke McNeilage. 

This image is one of his pictures that really captivates me. The ironic thing about this picture is how the word "boer" is made from the shoelaces of a shoe. Many people around the world still think that Africans do not wear shoes because of their "still-developing" status and also because they do not have such big business that sell shoes. It is the famous story of the Bata shoe representatives that were asked to go to Africa to assess the prospect of selling shoes to Africans. This famous story was spread around to motivate people into looking at economy at a more optimistic perspective. This story described how the first businessman who went there returned saying that African did not wear shoes and so the prospects of selling shoes was poor. The second said that Africans did not wear shoes and so the potential was huge. What we see now in the picture is the word "boer." Boer are dutch settlers in the Cape frontier who are widely known as farmers of the Africa. They emerged and became the South Africans as they escaped from the imperial British rule. The question is, are they just like Africans? Do they wear shoes? What is the artist trying to say in this picture?  

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