Literature

A History of South African Literature by Christopher Heywood

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By Christopher Heywood

Christopher Heywood surveys consultant South African poems, performs and prose works in 5 literary traditions: Khoisan, Nguni-Sotho, Afrikaans, English, and Indian. Heywood's decisions contain over a hundred authors and chosen works--covering poetry, theater and prose. Explored within the context of crises resulting in the formation of contemporary South Africa, South African literature emerges from this learn as one of many nice literatures of the fashionable international.

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Bleek, pp. 303–5) Kabbo invokes his thoughts in exile at the Cape Town Breakwater prison, where he and his family broke stones for the construction of new docks that were subsequently superseded and have been converted recently to a tourists’ pleasure resort. His inspired, Goethe-like expression in liberation appears in the portrait by Schr¨oder that forms the frontispiece to Bleek and Lloyd’s Specimens. Photographed as a prisoner (Bleek, p. 452), he shows utmost dejection and resolution. Prophetic of South Africans’ slow release from bondage, the contrast reappears in photographs of Mandela as a prisoner on Robben Island and in liberation (Mandela: cover picture and photo 5 after p.

Each of these events found echoes in literary activity that remained persistently hostile to exploitation and encroachment through colonial and post-colonial violence. The period after 1960 may be viewed as a thirty years’ war towards independence for all South Africans: for whites, liberation from exercising dominance on ideological grounds; for blacks, independence from economic and ideological oppression. The difficulty of giving expression to the idea of a ‘rainbow nation’, enshrined in Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s The Rainbow People of God (1995), in which white and black cease from being viable categories, has provoked the characteristic South African literary blend of hope, disillusion, and despair.

She is watched over by Gampta, her sister, whose children she protects and whose song tells her how to find the body of the dead mountain lion that formerly tyrannised the neighbourhood. By inserting its whisker in her arm she will achieve prodigious feats of hunting, and rescue herself and her grandmother from hunger. After dark her husband anxiously observes her green eyes while discovering with his hands her furry paws and curved claws. She laughs, saying it’s a gentleman’s job to rub the aromatic buchu9 into her arms, and to pull out what he believes to be a thorn in her arm.

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