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This chapter looks at Sun City, the massive resort and casino that opened up in Bophuthatswana in 1979. Just a 2-hour drive from Johannesburg, Sun City was a massive entertainment complex that served as the most visible symbol of the Bophuthatswanan state. Part of Sun City’s appeal was that it flouted many of the laws in the Republic, most notably apartheid’s racial segregation and prohibitions on miscegenation, as well as South Africa’s proscriptions against gambling. Sun City was an important flashpoint in the battle over Bophuthatswana’s contested sovereignty, especially because it attracted marquee sports and entertainment figures who were willing to break the anti-apartheid cultural boycott. The contours of these battles were often counterintuitive and surprising. Frank Sinatra’s opening of the Superbowl venue in 1981 began the short golden age of Sun City that would last until the release by Artists United Against Apartheid (AUAA) of the “Sun City” in 1985. Thereafter, the cultural boycott applied equally to Bophuthatswana as it did to South Africa proper.
Chapter 7, From Banned to Embraced, provides an historical overview of South Africa’s relationship to the International Art Biennale in Venice.In 1968, protests at the Biennale changed how it took place. These changes included banning South Africa from exhibiting: a boycott of the apartheid regime. It was not until 1993, with the prospect of transition from apartheid to democracy, that South Africa was invited back to the Biennale.Through this invitation to exhibit at the Biennale, South Africa was being rewarded for political change.The chapter analyses correspondence between representatives of South Africa and the Biennale in order to chronicle the country’s appearances in the exposition between 1968 and 2013, and to reveal the complex national and international politics and diplomatic negotiations involved in becoming and remaining a member state of the Biennale. I argue that South Africa’s participation continues to be deeply affected by international and national politics; its long absence from the Biennale reverberates through the way in which it represents itself to the international community and establishes itself as a member state of this international organisation.
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