African Woman on Road

African Woman on Road480
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One Essay Response

  1. lorato says:

    The picture of the African woman seamless navigating through space by using a footpath brings to mind the theory of Linguistic landscape (LL) and the critique thereof. Landry and Bourhis (1997:23) define LL as the "visibility and salience of languages on public and commercial signs in a given territory or region".

    This definition faulty implies that all regions – rural and urban have visible signs that add in the navigation of space. As evident in this picture, place-making is not centred on visible signage especially not written signage.
    In a bid to provide an account for place-making in rural areas, Banda and Jimaima (2015) contends that the production and consumption of signage is different for rural and urban. According to Banda and Jimaima (2015:648) “narration and navigation of place in rural areas may require additional or intricate oral input in repurposing natural objects such as trees, hills and bush paths as semiotic materials for sign and place-making”.

    The repurposing of natural objects for sign-making is evident in this picture. The woman draws on footpaths, trees and maize field on her left. The resources drawn on in the navigation of space in rural areas thus compel scholars to broaden the definition of LL and the scope of what is considered signage beyond the typical neon lights signage that dominates urban areas.

    Urry (2007:63) puts forth that “all movement involves intermittent and walking create paths that “demonstrate the accumulated imprint of journeys...people can imagine themselves treading the same paths as earlier generations…” The footpath the woman walks on is more than just a footpath – more than an illustration of the level of ‘underdevelopment’. That footpath is carved into nature yet simultaneously craved into the socio-historical background of the community due to the memories associated with it.