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South Africa, Arts

The historical segregation of racial and ethnic groups in South Africa has resulted in distinct cultural developments. White South Africans, especially English speakers, have drawn much of their culture from Europe. For Afrikaners culture has a wider meaning that overlaps with the political concerns of Afrikaner nationalism and employment issues. Traditional Afrikaans culture is strongest in rural areas.

Asians have distinct cultures derived mainly from the Indian subcontinent. In recent years a new sense of pride has developed in the Coloured community and found expression in writing, theater, and music. Urban black culture is multiethnic and draws on international influences, such as those of African Americans. In rural areas distinct cultural activities of various ethnic groups, including songs, poems, and oral history, remain important.

The end of apartheid meant the end of international sanctions against South Africa. Since 1994 South African art and culture has attracted unprecedented international interest. In 1995 the biggest international art exhibition ever held in the country took place in Johannesburg. The National Arts Festival, held annually in Grahamstown, claims to be the most important of its kind in the world after the Edinburgh International Festival in Scotland.

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