Promoted as a tourist attraction to highlight the benevolent treatment of black migrant laborers at South African gold mines, mine dance performances by workers became a symbol of both “authentic” preindustrial African culture and, paradoxically, the progress made towards industrializing the nation. Excavating both state-sponsored, industrial archives and the photographs of black South African Ernest Cole enables a reframing of the ways dance was mobilized and extracted during apartheid.

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