Journal of Literary Studies

Published by Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Print ISSN: 0256-4718
Trends have shown that writing is a male domain, and the act of writing alone is a positive development on the part of the woman. The writing of an autobiography by Tendayi Westerhof opens a new avenue on contemporary women's issues. The narrative tackles the challenges of single motherhood, career/celebrity experiences of a woman as well as HIV. Westerhof also goes a yard further by harnessing activism to her work. Not only does she offer a personal testimony, but she also takes the initiative to spread awareness regarding the pandemic and the vulnerability of women. Being HIV positive, Westerhof lends a voice to the voiceless women by exploring their experiences in a number of ways; through the conventional, ordinary woman/growing girl, the woman as a single mother, the woman and HIV, the woman in a mixed marriage and the woman as a survivor. Hers is a complex narrative which offers insights into the challenges that contemporary women face. She brings to the fore the stigma that is often associated with HIV, a feat which must have taken a lot of courage and willpower. This paper interrogates the extent to which the narrator is successful in recounting her story.
The aim of this article is to explain why and with what ideological effect Western film directors depict the African child soldier as victim, reluctant recruit and unwilling participant in Africa's violent wars in Black Hawk Down (Scott 2001) and Blood Diamond (Zwick 2007). Using Agamben's ideas of the “state of exception” (Agamben 2005) and the “paradox of sovereignty” (Agamben 1998), this article engages symbolical processes by which the formal rhetorical devices of the technology of audiovisual film texts “remediate an account vested in the perspective of only one party” (Potzsch 2011: 80-81). It will be demonstrated that within the narrative topoi of the films Black Hawk Down (Scott 2001) and Blood Diamond (Zwick 2007), African child soldiers are symbolically constituted as enemy, the other, and as existing on the margin of “bare life” (Agamben 1998: 4) and whose value is not worth mourning for – simply, “ungrievable” (Butler 2010). However, this article argues differently and stresses that violence is not sui generis to Africa and to the African child soldier.
This article shows that the filmic depiction of the death of Tessa Quayle, a social activist portrayed by Rachel Weisz, is a memorialised historical allegory of genocide caused by deliberate and lethal clinical trials of drugs conducted throughout Africa. Although the film is set in Kenya, it tells the real story of the clinical genocide committed in Nigeria. The authors of this article do not delve into the academically naïve question of whether or not the film (released in 2005) is a faithful representation of the 2001 novel, for the discrepancies – whether glaringly obvious or tastefully subtle – follow Fernando Mireilles's style and interpretative variorum as a director who is capable of signature adjustments to the face of death. In this case, the death of one white woman (Tessa Quayle) is a synecdoche of the multitudinous African deaths caused by genocide. It is in this sense that the setting (Kenya and not Nigeria) lends credence to the paradoxical representation of the silent genocide in other parts of Africa, beyond Nigeria, through allegorical memorialisation. The authors conclude that the discovery of Tessa Quayle's death is, therefore, a discovery of continental genocide revealed through allegorical representation.
In hierdie artikel bespreek ek Alastair Bruce se roman Wall of Days (2010) binne die raamwerk van post-apokaliptiese fiksie. 'n Historiese oorsig word gegee van die ontwikkeling van post-apokaliptiese fiksie as 'n subgenre van wetenskapsfiksie en distopiese literatuur. Wetenskapsfiksie en distopiese literatuur word tradisioneel beskou as fiksies van vervreemding. Ek voer aan dat 'n nuwe strategie van vervreemding toegepas word in onlangse post-apokaliptiese fiksie: in die post-apokaliptiese ruimtes word hedendaagse gebruiksartikels uitgebeeld as argeologiese artefakte. Hierdeur kan dié voorstellings verbind word aan 'n relatief nuwe ontwikkeling binne die veld van argeologie: die argeologie van die kontemporêre verlede. In die argeologie van die kontemporêre verlede word nuwe betekenis aan alledaagse items geheg deur argeologiese metodes te gebruik om hulle te klassifiseer en analiseer. Ek kyk verder hoe die argeologiese uitgrawingsproses oor die algemeen gekoppel kan word aan kwessies rondom geheue en identiteit. Laastens ondersoek ek die funksie van artefaktuele geheue en die argeologie van die kontemporêre verlede in die post-apokaliptiese roman Wall of Days.
The article aims to excavate some layers of Western philosophy in order to see how far Western thinkers can illuminate aspects of prehistoric rock art. It will focus on David Lewis-Williams's neuropsychological and shamanistic theory of San and prehistoric rock art, attempting to supplement his emphasis on states of consciousness with a focus on volition. The article thereby aims to theorise, in metaphysical terms, what the shamans may have been attempting to do in their trance dances and rock art. Just as Lewis-Williams argues that the traditional archaeological focus on intellect, instrumental rationality and alert consciousness cannot do full justice to an understanding of important aspects of prehistoric human culture and behaviour, particularly their art, so this article purposes to show the importance of volition in this respect. Implicit in this article, therefore, is a critique of the rationalism of the mainstream Western philosophical tradition. The excavation will thus begin with a consideration of the Platonic bedrock of Western philosophy – emphasising Plato's archaic spiritualism – before moving on to Nietzsche's recent followers, and then to a consideration of Nietzsche and Schopenhauer. It will be argued that these two philosophers of the will can helpfully illuminate certain aspects of shamanistic trance dances and rock art.
In Goretti Kyomuhendo's Secrets No More, the faces of the individual characters often come through vividly, and the events and situations can be precisely located in time and place in the Rwandan genocide as corroborated by the historical evidence. However, despite its accessibility and the relationship between the real and the fictive, there is little or no reference to Secrets No More in the major studies about the fictional narratives on the Rwandan genocide. In most of the narratives on the genocide, the historicity of the carnage is explored by means of the stark images of human bestiality and the debility of the victims. Kyomuhendo specifically deals with the same experience and issues, but through the different vignettes that make up the narrative. She makes eloquent the devastating blow that the genocide wreaked on the family as a unit and, by extension, the relationship between the woman's body and the nation in moments of crisis. The narrative captures the gory images of total and unmitigated disaster, tinged with anger and disappointment over the violent destruction of lives and property, and the human folly in attempting to completely wipe out a group of people who were just as human as their murderers were. Although the subject of this article is one of violence, I examine the situational violence inflicted upon a specific group of people during moments of crisis (specifically the Rwandan genocide) in order to articulate how the battlefield has been extended beyond the physical space of engagement to the bodies and psyche of vulnerable groups. This in turn will demonstrate how the relationship between gender and national identity is reconstructed during ethnic clashes.
Within a history of the deployment of the term “canon”, the author of this article investigates the possibility of an extra-canonical literature and the role of heritage and the futuristic in literature through reweaving by appropriation. The history of English as an academic discipline, the roots and consequences of essentialism and nihilism, and the problems in approaching a work of literature by means of a “What is x?” question are also considered.OpsommingBinne ‘n geskiedenis van die aanwending van die term “kanon”, ondersoek die outeur van hierdie artikel die moontlikheid van ‘n ekstra-kanonieke literatuur en die rol van erfenis en die futuristiese in die literatuur deur dit met behulp van toe-eiening te herweef. Die geskiedenis van Engels as 'n akademiese dissipline, die oorsprong en gevolge van die essensialisme en nihilisme, en die probleme wat ontstaan wanneer literatuur met 'n “Wat is x?”-vraag benader word, word ook oorweeg.
Cultural genocide is much maligned and often simply ignored. Yet it is an epistemic condition powerful enough to cause a physical elimination of a targeted “tribe” or group of people. The aim of this article is to highlight cultural genocide and explore how this type of genocide was used in images in European colonial films to destroy or “erase” some important cultural and traditional activities of black people in Africa. It also critically examines how images in some postcolonial films, directed and produced by white film-makers, are used to perpetuate cultural genocide. Special reference will be made to the film Strike Back Zimbabwe (2010), produced by white film-makers, which insinuates the possible assassination of Zimbabwe's president. This article will argue that it is critical to study the nature and manifestations of cultural genocide, which is often relegated to the margins, as a way of understanding the genesis of this condition.
In his defining work The Great Tradition (1948), F.R. Leavis declared, with characteristic asperity, that apart from Jane Austen, George Eliot, Henry James and Joseph Conrad, “there are no novelists in English worth reading” (Leavis [1948]1962: 9). Notwithstanding Conrad's canonisation in the pantheon of the “great tradition” of English literature, he has been a controversial figure, first, in his native country Poland, and subsequently in parts of Africa where Achebe's ad hominem attack on the writer still echoes in the corridors of academe well into the 21st century. In this paper I argue that Heart of Darkness, as is often referenced in the media and the popular imaginary, is much more than just a journalistic shorthand or cliché for stereotypes about Africa or Conrad for that matter. Stated differently, the title of Conrad's novella has become metonymic of anything and everything negative about Africa, which in turn has detracted from the story's impact as an exposé of the evils of colonialism.
With reference to Roland Barthes’s and Julia Kristeva’s observations on the bodily origins of language, this article argues that physicality is an important aspect, both thematically and stylistically, of the fiction of Australian Nobel prizewinner, Patrick White. Kristeva’s theory of the “symbolic” and “semiotic” aspects of signification, developed in her book Revolution in Poetic Language (1984), informs the argument that White’s writing emphasises a dualism of rationality and physicality at work within language and literature. Taking Kristeva’s observation that the “semiotic” or bodily aspect of language – evident in asymbolic poetic effects such as rhythm and rhyme – is comparable to music, the article explores White’s interest in music as expressed within his fiction. It argues, accordingly, that White’s frequent descriptions of music function as metatextual elements within his writing that draw attention to the materiality of language, the poetic dimension of his prose, and his association of representation with corporeality. Finally, in a reading of the short story “Five-Twenty”, from the collection The Cockatoos ([1974]1979), White’s interest in corporeal markings – which emphasise signification as bodily and corporeality as a language – is explored.
In this article, the nature, form and content of violence are traced through the engagement of Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o's Wizard of the Crow, situating it in the context of the postcolony. In this context, the conception of the real and unreal qua violence is interchangeable and also entangled. Thus, performativity of power depicts how violence becomes ritualised and institutionalised. The excess of the body is also problematised as a site of exercising state power. These politics of excess are clearly marked by the omnipresence of the Ruler in private and public domains of the citizens of Aburĩria, his plan of constructing the unlimited tower of Marching to Heaven, funded by the Global Bank, and the politics of eating which perpetuates dispossession of the Aburĩrian citizenry. Though the Ruler claims to be mighty and powerful he is still caught in the clutches of the puppetry of colonial power which reduce him to a typical colonial subject.
The aim of this article is to explore the idea of versions and subversions of narrative constructions and reinterpretation of Islamness or Muslim cultures from an analysis of the film The Stoning of Soraya M. This will be done by focusing on the narratives authorised by men in comparison to those narratives of Islam created by women in the film. It will be demonstrated that male-authored narratives are anchored in the dastardly law of the stoning/lapidation of women as found in the Hadith. In the fictional world of the film The Stoning of Soraya M, the stoning/lapidation of women is depicted as a gross distortion of the Qur'an. In short, it will be revealed that women can create their own narratives that shun and complicate the Qur'an and critique men, most of whom are the interpreters of the Qur'an. If male narratives in the film incline towards violent actions against women, women's response to these forms of violent narrative of Islamness is uneven. The film benefits narrative versions of women who reinterpret the Sunnah and its support of the practice of the stoning/lapidation of women. Through the character of Zahra, women in the film create alternative frameworks for self-help and the call to stop the abhorrent practices of the physical and spiritual stoning/lapidation of women. The film suggests that this action by women in the film, as in real life, is fundamental to the survival of the most democratic versions of Islam that are threatened by orthodox and inflexible interpretation of the Qur'an. The attempt at retrieving contesting narrative versions of Islamness means engaging with multiple re-evaluations of received histories of Islam imagined from a privileged cultural site of the film.
This article1 is a defence of the humanities that emphasises the nature and value of humanistic knowledge. I firstly outline the present negative perceptions of the humanities and the factors that constrain their development in South Africa. Chief among them is the privileging of technical rational knowledge above Bildung and self-development. Against the background of views on social dedifferentiation and the end of the book I emphasise the career value of the humanities. I try to reverse the opposition between technical rationalist knowledge and Bildung by analysing Maslow's hierarchy of needs and confronting his theory with a number of findings of our recent research into identity and literary space. Two keywords that feature strongly are centrality and narrativity. The implications of this view are explored in a brief analysis of Eben Venter's novel Foxtrot van die vleiseters (1993) [Foxtrot of the Meat-eaters]. ¹The article was developed as a thought paper in the NRF's project Shifting Boundaries of Knowledge–The Role of Social Sciences, Law and Humanities. A first version was presented at a regional workshop of the project at Tshwane University of Technology on 28 May 2004.
Verhandeling (M.A.) - Universiteit van die Oranje-Vrystaat, 1992.
A couple who indulge in a tongue-in-cheek game of pretence soon discover that role-play can, in fact, reveal more about themselves – their real selves – and their partner, than it conceals. What begins on a whim as an indulgent and innocent bit of sport soon spirals out of control to threaten the dynamics of the couple's relationship, increasingly hampering their ability to distinguish between fact and fantasy. The authors of this article contend that Milan Kundera's “The Hitchhiking Game”, one of seven short stories in the anthology Laughable Loves (1974), benefits from being read in terms of Roger Caillois's (1967) taxonomy of games and play, which differentiates between competition, chance, mimicry and vertigo in respect of players’ attitudes towards play. This theory is expanded by Wolfgang Iser (1993), who relates these four categories to the analysis of texts, introducing the concept of textual games. Employing the mimicry—chance binary seems particularly apt for this story as it highlights the unlimited potential for sustained illusion, as opposed to the limitations imposed by the finite nature of the text and the characters’ eventual disillusionment. In this tale of erotic love, the laughter hinted at in the title of the anthology is revealed to be rather wry, personal identity is shown to be ambiguous, and love often appears to be tainted by uncertainty.
Historical films on Africa are few and far between when viewed against the backdrop of many social upheavals that plague the continent. One such film is Hotel Rwanda, based on the Rwanda genocide of 1994. The film is set in Sabana Hôtel des Milles Collines. The article focuses on the theme of genocidal acts that include amongst others violent destruction of lives and property, and systematic rape of Tutsi females by Hutu extremists. The theoretical underpinning of this study is Systemic Functional Grammar as espoused by M.A.K. Halliday (2004). The article examines how the producer of Hotel Rwanda manipulates the resources of language at the levels of syntax and lexis to highlight the distortions created in Rwanda by the genocide. It also discusses how rhetorical devices are employed to illuminate the large number of deaths, rapes and other abnormalities in Rwanda. The article concludes that genocidal acts should be prevented in Africa due to their deleterious effects.
This article concerns the child-protagonist narrators, Suleiman and Nuri, of Hisham Matar's two novels In the Country of Men and Anatomy of a Disappearance respectively. Noting how their traumatised experiences relate closely to the writer's own Libyan childhood, the discussion focuses on their use of desperate strategies to cope with, or challenge, their predicaments. Matar's personal awareness of lives marked by “shame, pain and fear”, and the difficulty of imagining a “better reality”, helps to create his awareness of both boys' anguish, especially in relation to their fathers (lost in Suleiman's case; disappeared, like Matar's, in Nuri's). The stages of each narrator's childhood are traced, highlighting how much more self-defeating Nuri's choices ultimately are, despite his life apparently being easier. The greater pessimism of the second novel may reflect a growing awareness in Matar himself of the profound difficulties for Libyans in constructing a new post-Gaddafi vision for themselves.
The Purloined Letter / Edgar Allan Poe Note: The University of Adelaide Library eBooks @ Adelaide.
This article is concerned with time and temporality in human experience as well as in narrative representation. The focus is directed at the representation of thresholds, threshold experiences, borders and boundaries in narrative texts, but where these concepts are more often than not analysed from a spatial perspective, the temporality of these forms of liminality is foregrounded here. Using Ricoeur's views on time, temporality, historicality and the representation of time as points of departure and referring to Jesse Matz's discussion of the postmodern time crisis, the so-called “era of the nanosecond”, the representation of time-related themes and the aesthetic rendering of threshold experiences in Anne Michaels's novel Fugitive Pieces are explored.
Two distinctly Bakhtinian elements are relevant to understanding both continuities and discontinuities across the various James Bond films. Firstly, Bakhtin’s so-called “adventure-time” chronotope has been explicitly linked, in film criticism, to the 007 movie-series, particularly in relation to the lack of character development in these movies. This article analyses how the latest cycle of Daniel Craig 007 movies show, on the contrary, clear elements of such development, linked in turn to the greater chronotopic complexity of this recent cycle. Secondly, carnivalesque motifs (casinos, circuses, carnivals per se) have been a feature of 007 movies since their inception. This article traces the (re)appearance of such motifs across the 24 films, as well as arguing for a broader carnivalesque significance to these films, linked in turn to their comic nature. Emphasis here is placed on continuities between the Daniel Craig cycle and earlier Bond films.
Is “trauma” a viable category in literary theory? That is, could “trauma” be articulated in such a way that, in addition to its acknowledged diagnostic and therapeutic function in psychology and psychoanalysis, it may be shown to have a distinct hermeneutic function where literary fiction is concerned – regarding the generation of the narrative thread, for example? This article investigates these questions in the light of the meaning of “trauma”, largely in relation to the event of September 11, as formulated by Jacques Derrida. The affinity of Derrida's conceptualisation with that of Lacanian psychoanalysis is noted, and with that in mind, the narrative complications of Josephine Hart's The Reconstructionist (2002) are examined with a view to demonstrating the theoretical, heuristic and hermeneutic value of “trauma” at an intratextual level.
Shipwreck narratives were a publisher's staple during the eighteenth century. They appeared as pamphlets, chapbooks, broadsheets, and occasionally as more expensive book editions. George Buchan's Narrative of the Loss of the Winterton East Indiaman (1820) is a complex text that weaves together a historical account of a tragedy and its aftermath, an ethnography and natural history of Madagascar, and the unequivocal pronouncement of the author's evangelical commitments. This article concerns Buchan's response to the catastrophic interruption of his journey. It argues that the hospitality extended by the Madagascans to the Winterton cast-aways resonates with the author's prudential efforts to be hospitable to authorial, cultural and ideological difference. Interrupted journeys – even amidst tragedy – can be generative in that epistemological agendas and ontological itineraries are unsettled. Buchan contends with an experience that does not conform to his expectations, which presents an occasion for learning. His narrative illustrates how difficult it is to overcome received notions, even in the face of obvious evidence to the contrary. A persuasive counterpoint to contemporary right-wing rhetoric regarding the possibilities created by disaster, Buchan's narrative illustrates the complexities of accommodating difference, at the same time as it sets out – hesitantly – what a constructive response to violent upheaval might entail.
Introduction The focus in this article is a postcolonial reading of Yael Farber's 2012 adaptation (Mies Julie) of Strindberg's Miss Julie (1888) through the lens of the Mother of the Nation concept (Volksmoederkonsep) as situated within Afrikaner nationalist ideology. Strindberg's Miss Julie has been adapted numerous times (apparently more than twenty times) and often through re-imagings of the original play's issues in regards of gender, power and social class. More recent adaptations include Patrick Marber's reworking of the play, entitled After Miss Julie in 2009 and a 2012 Chinese opera version directed by Ravel Luo.
This article evaluates the contribution of digital literature in the struggle against the novel coronavirus contagion, focusing on Flight Rufaro Mlambo's poetry of ChiNdau and English expression. Since the outbreak of the disease in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, in November 2019, and its declaration as a pandemic by the World Health Organization on 11 March 2020, various efforts to combat the disease have been implemented at global, regional, national and institutional levels. Notable in this struggle has been the use of cyberspace to complement other non-digital fronts in fighting the seemingly elusive pathogen. Written texts, audio recordings, songs, drama and verse videos are among the multiple artistic forms posted online as anti-Covid-19 weaponry. Employing the "existence-as-war" theory, Mlambo's verse is evaluated against this context in which the efforts to suppress the virus are theoretically interpreted in real war terms. The war's antagonists pit governments and all local, regional and international partners on one hand and the virus, sceptics and denialists on the other. The article seeks to answer the following question: To what extent does Zimbabwe's anti-Covid-19 digital literature serve as effective weaponry against the stubbornly mutating lethal virus?
As I write this article in mid-September 2021, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has claimed the lives of nearly 4.7 million people and over 228 million others have been infected worldwide. This article explores the poetic imaginarium of the coronavirus, focusing on how selected Malawian poets imagine the devastation wrought on human beings by the pandemic in their poetry. Specifically, it considers how selected poems in Walking the Battlefield: An Anthology of Malawian Poetry on the COVID-19 Pandemic—a book edited by Martin Juwa, William Mpina and Beaton Galafa—explore the chaos, shock and bewilderment brought on by COVID-19. I also argue that a reading of the poems allows for an opening up of a discursive debate on the hope and indomitable resilience of the human spirit when confronted by life-threatening contagions. Opsomming Terwyl ek hierdie referaat in mid-September 2021 skryf, het die ernstige akute respiratoriese sindroom koronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)-pandemie reeds die lewens van bykans 4.7 miljoen mense geëis en meer as 228 miljoen is wêreldwyd geïnfekteer. Hierdie referaat verken die poëtiese verbeeldingswêreld van die koronavirus, en fokus op gekose Malawiese digters wat in hul poësie die vernietiging wat die pandemie in mense se lewens veroorsaak, in hul verbeelding ervaar. Dit besin spesifiek oor hoe gekose gedigte in Walking the Battlefield: An Anthology of Malawian Poetry on the COVID-19 Pandemic—’n boek wat deur Martin Juwa, William Mpina en Beaton Galafa geredigeer is—die chaos, skok en verbystering verken wat deur COVID-19 teweeggebring is. Ek voer ook aan dat ’n voorlesing van die gedigte ’n beredeneerde debat moontlik maak oor die hoop en onblusbare veerkragtigheid van die menslike gees wanneer dit deur lewensbedreigende aansteeklike siektes gekonfronteer word.
This article examines the Twitter diary of Lumumba William Gerald Mutumanje, popularly known as Ace Lumumba in Zimbabwe, which chronicles his experiences of being COVID-19 positive, his recuperation and survival from the contagion. I argue that the Twitter diary attempts to create a resilient and survivor identity for Lumumba and at the same time underscores the fact that everyone is vulnerable and susceptible to the virus. The diary further complicates our understanding of a text and how meaning is generated given that meaning is no longer localised to the immediate (con)text as inferences have to be drawn from and made to other (con)texts. Twitter largely relies on intertextuality and the reader (prod-user/prod-sumer) needs to demonstrate an awareness of intertextuality if (s)he is to have a holistic appreciation of Twitter texts. Lumumba's Twitter diary also extends debates on the role of social media and infodemics in health advocacy and community education, especially in times of COVID-19.
In an essay titled “Of our spiritual strivings”, W.E.B. Du Bois coined and elaborated the concept of “double consciousness” to refer to the ambiguity of being black and American. The ambivalence and unstable identities suggested by the term imply living a life characterised by seemingly irreconcilable dualities. On the one hand, blacks are entitled to become Americans because the slave labour they were forced to provide created the material and economic basis of modern America. On the other hand, the black people who created the wealth of the American nation find themselves marginalised or occupying low-paying jobs, leading to the condition of double consciousness being seen as a hindrance to the progress of the black race. In the American South, before the emancipation of slaves, black people were raped, racially segregated, lynched, and denied equal opportunities. Du Bois explains the ruthless experiences that the Negroes endured because of double consciousness as he asserts that the feeling of both belonging and not belonging to America often sent black people to court; thus, false gods invoking false means of salvation. At times blacks felt ashamed of themselves. Du Bois perceives the evil experiences endured by black people as concretised in the musical form of the Negro Spirituals. An analysis of selected songs suggests that these songs are the most beautiful expression of human experience because the songs manifest an awareness of the self that is more than the two-ness implied in the concept of double consciousness. The paradox indicated above confirms double consciousness as on one level a source of evil experiences of the Negroes, and on another, positive level, the condition that enabled them to fashion new discourses of resistances in order to express their desire to escape slavery. This article uses Gilroy’s notion of the ambiguity of modernity in fashioning identities of the Black Atlantic in order to rethink the idea of double consciousness, and at the same time amplify the multiple ways in which black people experienced slavery in America.
The poetry of the Lithuanian Yiddish poet, David Fram, makes a significant contribution to the understanding of a single immigrant's relocation in a specific time and place. Drawing on a rich store of memories of the familiar old country, the poems encompass the nature of Jewish migration from Eastern Europe. However, as the effects of migration remain sadly contemporary, both in South Africa and in a broader, global arena, this article argues for the poems’ continued relevance. Where the particular may be used to leverage far-reaching insights, going beyond a single poet's experience may also highlight some outcomes and insights of uprooting and displacement for members of an outsider and minority community. Yiddish remained Fram's linguistic homeland, in which he could retain the richness of his culture, and record his responses to his new environment. With reference to my English translations of specific poems, the article reflects on the challenges of transition and acculturation, incorporating a cross-cultural dynamic, preserving a particular literary heritage in a new location.
This article is a critique of the autobiographical documentary, Nelson Mandela the Living Legend (1918-2013), produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation to showcase the legendary hallmarks of former President Mandela’s role in transforming South Africa from apartheid to democracy. Its central theme evolves from Mandela’s portrayal as a prototype of the nefarious experiences of colonial bigotry under apartheid, a strategist in nation building and eventually providing archetypal leadership in the post-colonial period. Beyond disclosure of the underlying assumptions often associated with Mandela’s classic biographical reviews, the article uses interpretative thematic frames to explicate how the autobiographical narrative epitomises the legend’s astute creative intelligence in championing the transformative dialogue as an embodiment of the aspirations of South Africans. The article navigates both normative and ideological values incorporated in the content through a verbal-visual functional analysis of the main social and political actors as well as institutional contexts represented in the film. In conclusion it notes that, in addition to the content, form and organisation of the documentary, the producers successfully combined the erstwhile social, political and psychological milieu of the apartheid era with the post-apartheid democratic buoyancy. As a result, Mandela is represented as the biblical “Moses” imbued with the anointing to deliver the highly aspired “miracle rainbow” nation in the form of a democratic South Africa.
In this article I focus on the use of botanical tropes in Die jagters van Bloedeiland (1958), a popular fiction text from the colonial era set in the Congo (D.R.C.). It forms part of the adventure series Die Swart Luiperd (1949-1962), whose titular hero is a white Afrikaner dressed in a black leopard costume. His mission is to guard the tropical jungle against “outsiders” who attempt to access the treasures of Africa. Amongst these are European botanists, whose feverish exploration of “undiscovered” plant species – reminiscent of the “orchid hunting” of the Victorian era – renders them vulnerable to abduction by hostile indigenous tribes. The Black Leopard is portrayed as a particular brand of conservationist figure: the white Afrikaner “insider” hero who has an intimate knowledge and love of Africa, and adheres to a strict moral code. While this series represents Africa as both rich (evoking the “Eldorado” trope), and “dark” in the Conradian sense, its hero is unambiguously noble. In his aversion for Western civilisation and love of the wild the Black Leopard may seem to embody the perfect balance between “whiteness and wildness” (see Leon de Kock 2006), but his idealised characterisation firmly roots him in the prevailing Afrikaner nationalism of the era.
Simon Frith has stated that the aim of even serious rock musicians is, in short, to be popular (Frith 1983: 176). But popularity, Frith continues, “is taken to mean occupying a particular place in the community rather than just accumulating large record sales. The tensions emerge when these two goals are thought, for whatever reasons, to be incompatible” (Frith 1983: 176). Elvis's epoch-making return to the stage in 1968 had all the hallmarks of an acrobat negotiating a tightrope, as he had to balance the expectations of his manager and the record-buying public on the one hand and his own sense of performance and popularity on the other. In focusing on the 1968 NBC-TV Special, an important milestone in Elvis's career as a popular singer, this paper proposes to examine the production of the ‘68 Special against the backdrop of the tensions and the drama that led up to this signal moment in the history of American rock ‘n roll – a moment that would serve as a template for performing artists of the future. In many ways, the “Christmas” Special was a fulfilment of the vision of Steve Binder, the 23-year-old director, who said, “The one thing I knew that I wanted was Elvis to say something – let the world in on that great secret, find out what kind of a man he really was” (Hopkins 2007: 209).
The Gukurahundi genocide in Zimbabwe claimed more than 20 000 lives in the Matebeleland and Midlands provinces of the country at the hands of the state and its militia for political and tribal reasons. This article seeks to demonstrate how language, through hate speech, naming, symbolisation, dehumanisation, and classification, justified and rationalised Gukurahundi. While the linguistic conventions used by state actors before and during Gukurahundi did not cause genocide, it created two social climates, one that legitimised tribal and political hatred, thus eliminating any social sanctions preventing genocide and the other that unmasked the state-sponsored genocide clothed as a necessary military exercise against dissidents. This article employs Allport's (1954) Scale of Prejudice and Stanton's (2016) eight stages of genocide as a tool of making sense of the social processes that create society's progression from prejudice and discrimination to genocide; how through language conventions, the unthinkable becomes acceptable through the erosion of moral, social, religious and rational boundaries. Linguistic conventions show how power is enacted through discourse, how language acts prepare and maintain the way for physical and material acts, and how the same language conventions generate permissions for Gukurahundi, the Rwanda genocide and the Holocaust, amongst others. To demonstrate the permissibility conditions for non-linguistic behaviours like Gukurahundi, this article addresses the metaphor of Gukurahundi, the dehumanisation of the victims, political and religious constructions and the re-construction of the ‘other’.
The article addresses new and emerging perspectives on Gukurahundi genocide as remembered by combatants who participated or were close to the violent clashes between former Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) and Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) guerrillas at Connemara and how their fighting resulted in a national crisis. The bulk of the literature on this subject so far has concentrated on atrocities committed by 5 Brigade and other government forces in Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces between 1983 and 1987 without elaborating how it all began. This article unearths causes and course of the violence at Connemara, how it was organised and deployment of government security forces to quell it together with how the violence then spread to other barracks. The purpose of the study is to contribute interpretations and debate on this mass killing which today continues to haunt Zimbabwe. Connemara was chosen as a case study because fighting there between former ZANLA and ZIPRA guerrillas went unchecked and finally led to desertions in the army and then the Gukurahundi genocide. The story being told here is unique in the sense that it does not speak to civilian victims of violence but rather to armed men who were involved or at least close to the event. In gathering data, use was also made of secondary sources both published and unpublished. In terms of reconciliation and healing, it is important to take into consideration a multiplicity of voices, which is precisely what this article is doing.
The subject of analysis in this article is oral testimony delivered by five white men who resisted conscription to the apartheid army in the 1980s. The argument, underpinned throughout by its focus on a liminal mode of being expressed by these men both during apartheid and subsequent to its demise, is set in motion by outlining the socio- historical context that framed the interviewees’ complex stances of resistance. The argument proceeds by paying close attention to transcripts of interviews that were conducted from 2010-2013, and thereafter applies concepts considered useful for the interpretation thereof. These additions to the interpretative framework include Stewart Motha’s concept of liminality as applied to Antjie Krog’s writings and experiences, as well as Minesh Dass’s notions of white liberalism and lostness. Attention is also paid to the ways in which Donald McRae narrates his memories of resistance to conscription. McRae’s narration of his resistance stands as a counterpoint to the modes of resistance articulated by the interviewees. The argument concludes by applying Breyten Breytenbach’s ideas of the Middle World and the uncitizen to analysis of the testimony.
While the phenomenon of apartheid has been extensively explored in terms of topographic designs and spatial separateness, its multiple and complex “temporal geographies’’ still need to be explored and assessed. This article seeks to investigate Mongane Wally Serote's To Every Birth Its Blood (1981) from a temporal perspective - more specifically, how lived time is experienced by the subject under apartheid. Through a close textual analysis of the urban setting and of the characters’ rich and nuanced psyche as well as their physical and affective lives, this article shows how, at the basis of Serote's novel, there lies an intricate, dynamic and multi-layered phenomenology of time. Serote's model is one that sees different temporal dimensions at work simultaneously: external time, inner psychic time, and the temporal complication brought about by the apartheid regime (with its unpredictable, pervasive and terrorising methods). This complex temporal tapestry unfolds while being sustained and contained by Serote's own temporal vision, which is always future-oriented; it is a vision of hope, of individual and communal renewal.
  • Andile XabaAndile Xaba
The focus of the article is on writing the history of community theatre, which was a popular avenue for artistic expression for a number of township playwrights. During the period 1984–1994, there was a flowering of the arts in Soweto. Numerous popular community plays were staged, but this has not been documented due to a lack of record-keeping by the playwrights and the absence of formal theatre structures for township-based playwrights. In contemporary writing, theatre received attention from newspapers, with Gibson Kente, Matsemela Manaka and Maishe Maponya being the most prominent playwrights. Because of their popularity in South Africa and esteem with international audiences, the stature of the three playwrights presents an opportunity to see how a history of Soweto community theatre may be written. This article proposes that memory studies facilitates the writing of a more comprehensive narrative because it enables the melding of various sources: newspaper articles, theatre programmes, private archives, and information and insights from interviewees. Halbwachs’s methodology allows for a discussion in which theory (memory studies) and practice (writing the narrative) present evidence that community theatre has contributed to the development of theatre in South Africa. Without discounting the significance of (written) history, Halbwachs foregrounds the importance of memory, which resides with “people still living,” as key to formulating a narrative of the past. This is pertinent to Soweto community theatre, since the insights from interviewees and various sources also help to re-examine the perceived limitations attached to the label “community theatre.”
The central argument of this interdisciplinary article is that the “glasnost” context of the last phase of the Apartheid regime (1990-1994) had a profound impact on the content and form of isiXhosa written poetry. An analysis and interpretation of selected poems produced by writers of the period, namely Shasha, Xozwa and Mbelu, exposes that contestation at an ideological level permeated the cultural manifestations. The study exposes the state of the repressive state apparatus which was established for the control of the quality and quantity of literary production. Additionally the article argues that there are parallels between the Soviet Union glasnost and the South African “glasnost”, as writers of both communities recognised the power of poetry as a weapon for resistance to political repression and for advancing socio-political transformation.
Michele Mari's novels are highly original disquisitions on intertextual referencing. The postmodern amalgamation of history and intertextuality in his novel Io venia pien d’angoscia a rimirarti (1990), undertakes a fantastic reworking of the historical facts associated with the life of the Italian Romantic poet Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837). Constructed around references drawn from Leopardi's canon, particularly the 1819 poem “Alla luna”, these erudite and hyperbolic references are woven into a new, alternative text that uses the fantasy genre to challenge literary canonicity with ironic distance, positing an alternative reality to the ends of drawing attention to the text's clearly defined parameters of fictionality.
The post-humanist intellectual rush to promote the interests of non-human communities has given rise to the establishment of critical plant studies, a new transdisciplinary field of study which has so far received little attention in South African literary criticism. Pollan (2002, 2013), Hall (2011), Chamovitz (2012), Marder (2013) and Mabey (2014) criticise the zoocentric favouring of human and nonhuman animals as subjects in the Western tradition and argue that this historic preference has resulted in the exclusion of plants as category for moral consideration. Matthew Hall's model of plant personhood and biospheric integrity, based on the inclusion of, and care and respect for plants as autonomous, complex life forms, is employed here to develop a terminology for revisiting selected texts by Jeanne Goosen. Hitherto unacknowledged newspaper columns (1996-1999) from the regional newspaper, Vrydag, as well as the short story, “Plante kan praat” (in the collection of short stories by the same name) will be considered in this ecocritical reading of said texts within the contours of contemporary plant studies.
The heinous crimes of Apartheid have come and gone, but they left bitter scars and memories in their trail. Through the documentary narrative, Night’s Journey into Day: South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation (2000), this article seeks to explore the horrors of Apartheid and to discover its political and ideological contradictions. The article will delve into the realities and ambiguities of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. This Commission was tasked to bring to the surface the “buried” narratives that are constantly fighting to claim space in the history of South Africa. Night’s Journey into Day: South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation has particularly been selected as the subject of scrutiny because its discourses reflect that members of the South African society can have the capacity to live beyond the brutalising memories and horrors of Apartheid. This soul-searching journey, motivated by the documentary, humanises individuals as they are brought face to face with perpetrators of violence and the truth behind the violence is revealed, which then give room to a spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation. The documentary inspires all international audiences to re-think their positions vis-à-vis issues of racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia, other forms of discrimination, and social and political injustices.
The Eurasian writer, Simone Lazaroo, has lived most of her life in Australia. Her fiction seeks to reconnect with a cultural heritage to re-establish a sense of home and belonging, a move that is both a return – in that Lazaroo situates her narratives in the Asian contexts of her birth in Singapore and her paternal connection with Malaysia – and an origin because it “begins” by “coming back” (Derrida 1994: 10). In Spectres of Marx, Derrida writes that just “as Marx had his ghosts, we [too] have ours, but memories no longer recognise such borders; by definition, they pass through walls, these revenants, day and night, they trick consciousness and skip generations” (1994: 36). I explore this site of penetrable boundaries, between the “ghost” that haunts in the West – accountable in philosophical and psychoanalytical terms – and the seemingly unaccountable “hantu” in the Singaporean context. Instead, I work with Derrida’s idea of the “absent presence” or the “visible invisible” to raise questions about the female body, both spectral and Eurasian. I also explore spectrality in the motif of the photograph.
This article looks at Zimbabwean whiteness in the context of loss, dispossession, victimisation and the need to belong. It draws from literary narratives written by Zimbabwean whites, particularly Andrea Eames’ Cry of the Go-Away Bird, and argues that in the aftermath of the fast-tracked land reform programme of 2000, the avenues of speech became increasingly restricted for Zimbabwean whites. This gave rise to new sites of speaking and literary narratives. By means of fiction, memoirs and autobiographies whites make themselves heard and add their voices to the mainstream debate about whiteness, land ownership, citizenship and a need to belong, albeit to a marginalised group. Eames’ Cry of the Go-Away Bird is significant in its engagement with the aforementioned issues. This article examines the text against the background of Du Bois’ notion of double consciousness, the sense of being caught between conflicting ideals, and the need to belong.
Set against Anzaldua’s seminal text, Borderlands, this study of Okri’s In Arcadia (2002) concerns itself with the author’s psychological, emotional and artistic identity; torn as he is between African and European heritages, obliged to negotiate a middle ground or mestiza personality. What appears at first to be unqualified suffering, ignominy and stateless confusion for Lao/Okri, reveals itself in the course of the film crew’s revelatory expedition to France, to be the existential groundwork for an identity that possesses insight, compassion and tolerance. More than that, the pain of existing in the shadow lands of English society stimulates Lao to develop the sensitive antennae of a true artist: he gains what Anzaldua defines as La Facultad, the ability to see below surface meanings and evince truths about cultures and those that inhabit their bounds. His nuanced mestiza character and artistic nature stand in stark contrast to the crass attitudes of entitlement and gauche lack of self-reflection evidenced by members of the film crew who all experience differing forms of grating confrontation and humiliation before they can reach a measure of that inner Arcadian peace, which most of them hardly realised they sought so earnestly.
The article takes an African-centred approach in its examination of womens plight and strategies propagated by African women in pre- and post-independence Zimbabwe to create safe space and empower women with a view to building more stable families and sustainable social transformation for societys greater good. Bringing indigenous Zimbabwean African ideals and values to the centre of analyses, against the backdrop of lived socio-historical experiences, the article interrogates selected short stories contributed by some Zimbabwean authors in Women Writing Africa: The Southern Region (2003). It focuses on pertinent issues raised concerning problematic existential conditions particularly affecting women, including their ripple effects on the socio-cultural, economic and material conditions of the respective female protagonists lives, families and communities. Because the contributors are themselves women, the assumption is that they know best where it pinches worst, including how best they envision strategies that can usher in sustainable transformation in their respective environments. The article argues that it is important that these issues be examined holistically within the womens respective socio-cultural and material contexts in order to validate pragmatic approaches that would enable women to wade with ingenuity in their respective community waters. Placed within their familiar cultural environments, women can ingeniously wrestle for meaningful and sustainable transformative change where it is necessary. Yet, women alone cannot usher in sustainable social transformation outside their existential and material conditions, begs the article.
Chenjerai Hove is one of the most prolific writers in Zimbabwe in the English language. Hove has written novels, poetry and some critical essays. He has also written in the Shona language. Although, Hove's creative ouvre has received some important critical evaluation, most of these evaluations are on his novels. However, recently, critics have taken an interest in Hove's poetic works. In 2009, Chenjerai Hove completed a collection of poems called Love and Other Ghosts (2009) which has remained unpublished to date. Sadly, Hove passed away on the 12th of July, 2015 while on self-imposed exile in Norway. This article is a tribute to Hove's poetic ingenuity and an exploration of the poetic shift registered in Hove's poetic creativity from poetry that defines itself as committed to issues of social justice and whose contradictions would be openly resolved through armed, class and gender struggles towards poetry that celebrates life through the trope of love. In Love and Other Ghosts (2009), the poet's voice appears less critical of bad governance as is openly registered in his Blind Moon (2003). This article argues that the subversive power of Love and Other Ghosts (2009) is precisely its refusal to conceive of protest politics in terms of slogans against the ruling elites as one can see in Palaver Finish (2002). Instead, in Love and Other Ghosts, Hove carves out an alternative site where contradictory voices temper with official narratives of Zimbabwe's post-independence dispensation. Hove's Love and Other Ghosts (2009) creates its own fictional and poetic context that shows that even in the most hostile circumstances, ordinary people can still organise their lives around those values that are life-sustaining. Instead of merely protesting against betrayal of the masses, Love and Other Ghosts affirms the inevitability of change through the archetypal image of love.
The late Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first democratic president is perhaps the most revered political leader globally. His legacy spawns fields such as politics, sports and society and portends different interpretations by different people. His name is invoked during elections and sporting events, and instrumentalised, if not “commodified” for electoral power gains with reckless abandon. Because Mandela symbolises many things, there are varied interpretations of his legacy, a conundrum that remains unresolved after the global icon’s death. Theoretically grounded on Berger’s (2014) “myth model”, this article examines the discursive construction of Nelson Mandela”s sports legacy in the context of the FIFA 2010 World Cup, the maiden world cup extravaganza on African soil, in order to gain insights on how symbolic power is embedded in and is naturalised through texts and discourse. Empirical data for this article was gleaned through a corpus of purposively sampled archival press cuttings from three main South African newspapers, namely The Sunday Times, Mail & Guardian and The Sowetan. Data was coded thematically and subjected to discourse analysis using the hermeneutic approach. The article argues that the discursive constructions of Nelson Mandela in these newspapers during the 2010 FIFA World Cup projected Mandela’s sports legacy through a mythological lens that accentuated his individual rather than collective contributions towards bringing the World Cup to South Africa/Africa. The article further argues that Mandela’s sports legacy is depicted as inseparable from his larger legacy in politics and society, thus demonstrating the intricate link between sports and politics in post-colonial societies.
Top-cited authors
Leon de Kock
  • Stellenbosch University
David Van Wyk
  • Bench Marks Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility.
Helize Van Vuuren
  • Nelson Mandela University
Bert Olivier
  • University of the Free State
Tamar Yacobi
  • Tel Aviv University