Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Tydskrif vir Letterkunde]]> vol. 56 num. 2 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>The emergence of black queer characters in three post-apartheid novels</b>]]> Before the end of apartheid, queer lives were almost entirely unrepresented in public literary works in South Africa. Only after the fall of institutionalised apartheid could literature begin to look back at the role of queer people in the history of South Africa, and begin to acknowledge that queer people are a part of the fabric of South African society. A number of celebrated authors emerged who were exploring queer themes; however, most of these authors and the stories they told were from a white perspective, and black queer voices were still largely absent in literature, especially novels. This paper explores the limited number of black queer literary representations following the influential work of K. Sello Duiker. I explore the social dynamics that might have influenced the fact that so few examples of black queer characters currently exist in South African literature. Through an analysis of novels by Fred Khumalo, Zukiswa Wanner, and Chwayita Ngamlana, I show how black, queer characters in post-apartheid novels confront ideas of culture, race, and sexuality as they wrestle with their identities and with questions of belonging and visibility. <![CDATA[<b>Literature as cultural ecology in <i>Die Bergengel </i>(Carina Stander)</b>]]> Die Bergengel (The Angel of the Mountain), with its striking nature centeredness, is characterised by poetical and lyrical use of language. This aspect is drawn into the ecocritical study of the novel in this article. Hubert Zapf's theory on literature as cultural ecology, placed within the theoretical frame of material ecocriticism, supplies the foundation for this study. An ecocritical reading of Die Bergengel leads to uncovering a counter-discourse in the novel aimed at disrupting prevalent anthropocentric views on nature and environmental issues. Narrative events reveal the agentic power of nature and its dynamic influence on human conditions; the novel challenges the long taken-for-granted dominant position of humankind. The poetic language effectively functions in highlighting the interconnections between different forms of life where previously we had seen separations, suggesting more thoughtful interpretations of human-nonhuman-relations underlying the practices of environmental violence and exploitation the novel speaks of. Where the play with language and words is so directly connected with the ecocritical discourse, literature's potential in bringing together the supposed separated spheres of culture (language) and nature becomes clear. Die Bergengel cogently voices the idea of the "reintegrative interdiscourse" which is central to Zapf's viewing of literature as cultural ecology. <![CDATA[<b>Behind the wall in Kobus Moolman's <i>A Book of Rooms</i></b>]]> Kobus Moolman prefaces A Book of Rooms with a quote by Georges Perec. The quote details the irrevocability of the past through memory. However, both Perec and Moolman not only recover memory, but are able to do so in great detail, specifically through thorough catalogic descriptions of spaces and objects that surround them in the domestic realm. Analysis of these catalogic descriptions forms the key component of this article. The structure of Moolman's work, with different rooms used to demarcate different sections, and the significance of objects, further contribute towards his project of recovering the irrevocable. Comparison of Moolman's project with that of Perec, with reference to Bachelard's thoughts on the home, serves in the analysis of how the self is related to the concept of a house, with its many rooms in which are stored those things which contribute to an individual's sense of identity. The generation of narrative via description and cataloguing of these various domestic objects and events is considered, with specific focus given to the 'bed' as it plays a significant role in the formation of the self and the recollection of memories. <![CDATA[<b>"Already half animal"</b><b>: </b><b>object oriented ontologies, disability studies and Siegfried (Willem Anker)</b>]]> Willem Anker's debut novel, Siegfried, deals with the experiences of the eponymous character, who is mentally disabled and whose hands and feet are webbed. In this article, an attempt is made to investigate how the theories of Deleuze and Guattari, as well as object oriented ontologies, can be used to argue that the representation of the character of Siegfried involves a blurring of the boundaries between the human and the nonhuman. The second aim of this article is to establish whether such a blurring is ethically problematic, given the cruel ways in which people considered less human than others are often treated. Where the first aim is concerned, it is argued that Siegfried's interaction with the world challenges hegemonic ideas of human subjectivity, especially ideas of what constitutes normal humanity. In the character of Siegfried traces are found of what can be described, in Deleuze and Guattari's terms, as becomings. These becomings serve as lines of flight from blocked forms of human subjectivity. The boundaries between what is considered human and what is considered nonhuman are therefore indeed blurred. Concerning the second aim, it is argued that the novel can be read as a critique of the ways in which society treats disabled people, and that it can therefore be brought into dialogue with disability studies. The potential for object oriented ontologies to be apolitical (and even unethical, in this respect), is countered in the analysis of the novel by disability studies' activism and social commentary. <![CDATA[<b>Biracialism and trauma in Kaine Agary's <i>Yellow-Yellow</i></b>]]> The connection between the discourse of racial purity and its traumatic effects on the biracial woman takes center stage in Kaine Agary's Yellow-Yellow, which manifests in valorization and vilification of biracial subjects. Contrary to received and discriminatory knowledge that equated biraciality with degeneracy and hyper-sexuality, this article argues that master narratives of social marginality, and stigmatization of biracial women are undermined through the counter-narrative of subjects that deconstructs the dialectic of visibility and invisibility of the biracial body. Appropriating the stereotypes against them, victims recover their subjectivity by articulating their stories, which transgress an ossified binary perception of race. Though these stories do not provide narrative closure, they embrace the contradictions and ambivalence that characterize existential realities of biracial bodies, and therefore, rupture the singular and normative narrative that names biracial women as 'other'. <![CDATA[<b>Identity, languages and knowledge in Ken Bugul's <i>Riwan ou le chemin de sable</i></b>]]> This paper, which draws its analytic and hermeneutic postulate from epistemocriticism, studies the mechanism of renegotiation of identity in Ken Bugul's Riwan ou le chemin de sable (Riwan, or the Sandy Path). It demonstrates that the narrator decides to return to her native land because she is afraid of losing connection with herself. The study analyses the return to the native land not as a withdrawal to one's identity but as a kind of poetizing of one of many various ways of life found within contemporary Senegalese society. The paper explores different forms of representation in cultural Senegalese knowledge through the perspectives of savoir-être (knowledge of how to behave) and savoir-dire (knowledge of how to express) which take into account taboo and customary rituals. These articulations of traditional knowledge are the keys from which the narrator reconnects with her origins and thus manages to reconstruct her ethnic identity. <![CDATA[<b>Tchibamba, Stanley and Conrad: postcolonial intertextuality in Central African fiction</b>]]> Paul Lomami Tchibamba (1914-85) is often described as the Congo's first novelist. Previous research in French and English has depicted Tchibamba's work as a straightforward example of 'writing back' to the colonial canon. However, this article advances scholarship on Tchibamba's work by demonstrating that his later writing responds not only to Henry Morton Stanley's account of the imperial subjugation of the Congo, but to Joseph Conrad's questioning of colonialist narratives of 'progress'. Drawing on recent theoretical work that examines intertextuality in postcolonial fiction, this article demonstrates that while Tchibamba is highly critical of Stanley, he enters into dialogue with Conrad's exposure of colonial brutality. Bringing together comparative research insights from Congolese and European literatures, this article also employs literary translation. This is the first time that excerpts from two of Tchibamba's most important responses to colonial authors have been translated into English. Also for the first time, Tchibamba's novella Ngemena is shown to be a crucial postcolonial Congolese response to Heart of Darkness. Through close textual analysis of Tchibamba's use of irony and imagery, this article's key findings are that, while Tchibamba nuances Conrad's disparaging portrait of a chief, he develops the ironic mode of Conrad's An Outpost of Progress, and updates the journey upriver into the interior in Heart of Darkness. This article illustrates the complex and nuanced way in which Tchibamba interacts with his European intertexts, deploying close analyses of his responses to Conradian imagery. <![CDATA[<b>Reversing perverted development: magical realism in <i>Moses, Citizen & Me</i></b>]]> This paper focuses on reimagining the developmental process of the child soldier who has developed abnormally into adulthood and bringing him back into normal childhood. In particular, it considers how the attention of Delia Jarrett-Macauley's novel, Moses, Citizen & Me (2005) is directed at restoring the childhood of the child soldier. The novel achieves this aim through employing creative narrative techniques to take the monstrous adult that the child has become, through a reverse-development, back to childhood from which the child may be re-educated and re-formed. The novel thus represents how the child soldier whose experience has turned him into some kind of 'monster' may be restored to humanity. The paper argues that magical realism in Moses, Citizen & Me encompasses a therapeutic tendency that represents a form of healing for child soldiers. <![CDATA[<b><i>L'Annonce faite à Marie: </i>from African legacy to a postcolonial reading</b>]]> In this article, a postcolonial reading is undertaken of L'annonce faite à Marie (The annunciation of Mary), a 1912 play by Paul Claudel. Several celebrated authors from Africa and the Caribbean, belonging to the black postcolonial world, willingly acknowledge their debt to Paul Claudel, including Aimé Césaire, Léopold Sédar Senghor, Édouard Glissant and Saint-John Perse. Nevertheless, postcolonial theories generally exclude the study of Western and medieval works from the purview of postcolonial studies. It may thus appear paradoxical to propose a postcolonial reading of Claudel's play, written by a French playwright who does not belong to the colonized world. The play is furthermore set in the Middle Ages. However, many critics, mostly Anglo-Saxons, have successfully matched medieval texts and postcolonial studies. In fact, postcolonial theoretical tools are capable of casting new light on the study of L'Annonce faite à Marie, regarding, for example, relations of gender or power, marginalization and migration. Given Claudel's avowed impact on the literature of the black world, in view of the play's focus on situations of domination, the postcolonial approach may be legitimately applied to the study of L'Annonce faite à Marie, despite the 'medieval' particularities of this play. <![CDATA[<b>The iconic Hector Pieterson photo and the power of adaptations</b>]]> In South Africa, the iconic Hector Pieterson photo is the starting point for many artists to deal with their own personal trauma and the communal trauma of their nation. The iconicity of this photo has sparked many different adaptations in various fields of art. Considering that we are talking about a traumatized country, Freud's concept of "repetition compulsion" seems to be one explanation for this phenomenon. However, art is only seldom a mere product of traumatization. Quayson's concept of "symbolization compulsions" comes closer to explaining the phenomenon of repetition in the arts, because it leaves the artists more freedom of expression and does not suggest that art is the result of illness, while still implying 'compulsion' and 'obsession' in the act of creation. I want to suggest that 'repetition' in the arts in the South African context is not so much a sign of confinement and restriction, but that the many adaptations of the unique historical incident should rather be understood as attempts of 'working through' collective trauma, making sense of history, and contributing to the country's healing.