Journal article

'Freedom Park, a heritage destination': tour-guiding and visitor experience at a post-apartheid heritage site

Research Areas

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Publication Details

Author list: Jethro D

Publisher: SAGE Publications (UK and US)

Publication year: 2016

Journal: Tourist Studies


Volume number: 16

Issue number: 4

Start page: 446

End page: 461

Total number of pages: 16

ISSN: 1468-7976

eISSN: 1741-3206


As a national site of commemoration that materially enshrined the democratic values of reconciliation and freedom, Freedom Park is South Africa's premier post-apartheid heritage venture. Branded as a heritage destination, this complex raises questions about the relationship between practices of heritage formation and tourism. Heritage destinations are considered significant not merely as end points of tourist discovery, but also as sites that structure the practices of consumption, central to the functioning of the tourism industry. Mediating the cultural and commercial pressures that bear on visitor experience, considered the most valuable commodity in tourism economies, heritage destinations also situate meaningful experience. This article engages with how and in what ways this particular category of knowledge is mobilized around Freedom Park to legitimate the venture and shape visitor understanding of post-apartheid South Africa. Drawing on ethnographic data, this article analyses how Freedom Park wielded aesthetics of persuasion, an experiential inducement, regarding the legitimacy of the site and the complex set of meanings it was meant to represent.


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Last updated on 2017-21-04 at 17:44