Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Tydskrif vir Letterkunde]]> vol. 57 num. 2 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Intellectual appropriation and discursive violence in Focquenbroch's <i>Afrikaense Thalia </i>(1678)</b>]]> In 1668, the Dutch medic and poet Willem Godschalck van Focquenbroch left Amsterdam for the African Gold Coast to become "fiscaal" (a kind of public prosecutor) on behalf of the Dutch West India Company (WIC) at Elmina Castle in Guinea, which was a bulwark of the Dutch transatlantic slave trade. In his posthumously published Afrikaense Thalia (African Thalia, 1678), a collection of poems and letters containing the well-known Afrikaense Brieven (African Letters), Focquenbroch testifies to his life and work in Elmina Castle through his alter ego "Focq". In this article, I use Stephen Greenblatt's notions of "wonder" and "possession" to demonstrate that Focq's descriptions in the Afrikaense Brieven can be read as an expression of his initial wonder for, and subsequent appropriation of Guinea and its inhabitants. I argue that Focq's literary-intellectual appropriation of the African Other, which at first sight seems rather innocent compared to the brutal physical appropriation of African people by the Dutch colonists, can nevertheless be considered violent at a discursive level. Focq's conviction that he is superior to the Guineans because he possesses written language enables him to frame his writing in a discourse which stresses the superiority of the own culture and the culturelessness of the African Other. As such, Focq degrades and instrumentalizes the African Other in order to glorify and preserve the Self. <![CDATA[<b>Discourses of transnational feminism in Marie du Toit's <i>Vrou en feminist </i>(1921)</b>]]> In this article I investigate transtextuality in Vrou en feminist (Woman and Feminist, 1921) by Marie du Toit in order to demonstrate how she grafted first-wave transnational feminism onto the Afrikaans context. Du Toit's book is approached as a space of contact between progressive European and North American thought and a South African, particularly Afrikaner, mindset. Du Toit relied on a multiplicity of late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries discourses to support her argument that Afrikaner women become part of the feminist movement. Due to the numerous quotations from scientific papers and literary fiction, mostly English but also Dutch, her book can be described as a heteroglot text. Utilizing the histoire croisée approach, I discuss Du Toit's text on the macro and micro scale: I locate it in a historical perspective as a literary document and focus on the ways in which diverse voices intersect and converse with one another. I argue that the book was an unsuccessful attempt at inviting the Afrikaans reader into a transnational imagined community of suffragettes because of prejudice against the English language and culture. English sources, which Du Toit extensively quoted, deterred potential Afrikaans supporters, and consequently prevented transfer of feminist thought. Even though she also supported her views with some texts in Dutch in wanting to appeal to her reader's associations with a more familiar Dutch culture, this tactic was insufficient to tip the balance. <![CDATA[<b>Wole Soyinka's <i>The Road </i>as an intertext</b>]]> Studies on African drama have shown the influences and the intertextual relations between African drama and European (Classical and Elizabethan) plays. It is also a known fact that African drama exhibits traces of African tradition and instances of textual relations with already existing oral and written texts. However, existing studies on Wole Soyinka's The Road have tilted towards the usual literary interpretation or as a piece of theatrical performance with little attention paid to the intertextual nature of the text. Based on the challenges of these usual approaches to the study of literature by contemporary literary and cultural theories, this study adopts intertextual theory as a framework to examine Wole Soyinka's The Road as an intertext showing traces of textual influences from oral and written external sources. The aim is to reveal the source texts from which the playwright draws in the creation of the text and to show how these sources contribute to the overall thematic significance of the play. Findings reveal that Soyinka draws extensively from Yorúbá oral sacred texts, the Bible, and his own earlier texts and that these sources contribute to the eclectic nature of the thematic preoccupation of the play. It is hoped that this has gone a long way to mitigate the obscure claim of structural and thematic incomprehensibility with which the play is associated. <![CDATA[<b>Winterbach's <i>Spyt </i>and Scholtz's production: An expression of a postmodern impasse</b>]]> Some scholars have declared metamodernism to be postmodernism's successor, and Afrikaans novelist Ingrid Winterbach's work has been argued to be an example of this distinct move away from the postmodern paradigm. However, in this article I present the alternative interpretation that Winterbach's play, Spyt (Regret), rather represents postmodernism's inability to give way to its successor. An investigation from a postmodern perspective leads me to conclude that, in both the text and performance of this play (directed by Brink Scholtz), an escape from the postmodern paradigm entails the end of all representation. Winterbach reduces all of the characters' endeavours to surfaces which become parodies. All their experiences are commodified and any attempt at uncovering a deeper meaning to life is undermined by ridicule. Winterbach furthermore draws attention to some of her characters' limited vocabulary and reliance on English loanwords. This culminates in a powerful scene where the loanword 'awesome' is repeated to the extent that it becomes simultaneously meaningless and indispensable; a tension that she does not resolve. In addition, the crossing of the boundary between life and death, which has been described as postmodernism's final frontier, is portrayed by relying on an obsolete narrative. The play therefore suggests a postmodern impasse, rather than a move towards a new paradigm. <![CDATA[<b>Different narration, same history: The politics of writing 'democratic' narratives in Zimbabwe</b>]]> Over the past five decades, Zimbabwe's political trajectories were characterised by a historiographic revision and deconstruction that revealed varying ideological perceptions and positions of political actors. This article reconsiders the current shifts in the Zimbabwean historiography and focuses on the politics of positioning the self in the national narrative. The article analyses three Zimbabwean political autobiographies written by political actors from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), particularly Michael Auret's From Liberator to Dictator. An Insider's Account of Robert Mugabe's Descent into Tyranny (2009), Morgan Tsvangirai's At the Deep End (2011), and David Coltart's The Struggle Continues: 50 Years of Tyranny in Zimbabwe (2016). It also discusses how writing in Zimbabwe is a contested terrain that is bifurcated between oppositional and dominant imaginaries of politics, the revolutionary tradition, and past performances of power.