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Heritage on the Move: The surprising history behind North Korean statues in Africa

LeidenGlobal Lecture

Heritage on the Move: The surprising history behind North Korean statues in Africa

Lecturer: Tycho van der Hoog (African Studies Centre Leiden)

Date: 27 September 2018
Time: 16.30 - 17.15 hrs

Address:
Pieter de la Courtgebouw / Faculty of Social Sciences,
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden
Room SB-11 (basement)

North Korea has left an indelible influence on Africa, perhaps most noticeable through a myriad of quintessential North Korean statues that celebrate the rise of African nation states. This lecture illuminates the obscure history of the fraternal relations between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and various African liberation movements. The DPRK offered African guerrilla organisations political support and military hardware and training. At present, a considerable number of African governments emerged from the same liberation movements that received North Korean support. This explains why they choose to adopt the North Korean socialist realist visual language for their myth making efforts. National cemeteries, war memorials, monuments, government buildings and museums are designed and constructed by North Korea. By merging African nationalism and North Korean socialist realism, these statues truly are ‘heritage on the move’.

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Tycho van der Hoog holds a bachelor’s degree in history (2014), a bachelor’s degree in political science (2014), a research master’s degree in African Studies ('Brewing Identity: Beer and the Establishment of the Namibian Nation', 2016) and a master’s degree in History ('North Korean monuments in southern Africa: Legitimizing party rule through the National Heroes’ Acres in Zimbabwe and Namibia', 2017) from Leiden University. He has conducted fieldwork in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa.


This lecture is an initiative of LeidenGlobal in cooperation with the African Studies Centre Leiden and coincides with the photo exhibition 'Heritage on the move', currently to be seen in the hall of the Pieter de la Court building. In the exhibition several photographs are shown from ASCL researchers including Tycho van der Hoog.