Being / becoming the "Cape Town flower sellers" The botanical complex, flower selling and floricultures in Cape Town
Boehi, Melanie Eva
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This mini-thesis is concerned with histories of flower selling in Cape Town. Since the late 19th century, images and imaginings of the flower sellers in Adderley Street and to a lesser degree in other areas of the city attained an outstanding place in visualisations and descriptions of Cape Town. The flower sellers were thereby characterised in a particularly gendered, racialised and class-specific way as predominantly female, coloured and poor. This characterisation dominated to an extent that it is possible to speak of a discursive figure of the 'Cape Town flower sellers'. In tourism-related media and in personal memoirs, the 'Cape Town flower sellers' often came to represent both the city and the inhabitants of Cape Town. The images and imaginings of the 'Cape Town flower sellers' can partly be traced back to representations of 'flower girls' in fictional stories, paintings, photographs and film in Europe, particularly in Great Britain. In Cape Town, this European discourse about flower selling developed in a specific way within colonial, apartheid and post-apartheid contexts.