Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Tydskrif vir Letterkunde]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=0041-476X20080001&lang=es vol. 45 num. 1 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>Africa's variety of Arabo-Islamic Literatures - an overview</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2008000100001&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es <![CDATA[<b>Reconciling Arabo-Islamic culture and feminist consciousness in North African women's writing: Silence and voice in the short stories of Alifa Rifaat and Assia Djebar</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2008000100002&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This article sets out to explore the theme of silence and voice in selected short stories by two North African women writers, Alifa Rifaat and Assia Djebar. In their representations of women's lives in Egypt and Algeria, respectively, both Rifaat and Djebar present different strategies employed by women to counter gender oppression. Although the female characters portrayed by both writers encounter diverse, and sometimes opposing, circumstances, they tend to share a common plight - the need to break free from the constricting fetters of patriarchy. A comparative reading of selected stories reveals that Rifaat's characters resort to silence as a means of self-preservation, while Djebar's characters, on the other hand, use techniques ranging from writing to outright protest to show their rejection of gender-based segregation. In spite of this difference in approach, it can be said that both Rifaat and Djebar have made a great contribution to feminist literary creativity in North Africa. <![CDATA[<b>The dialectics of homeland and identity: Reconstructing Africa in the poetry of Langston Hughes and Mohamed Al-Fayturi</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2008000100003&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The article investigates the dialectics between homeland and identity in the poetry of the Sudanese poet, Mohamed Al-Fayturi and his literary master, Langston Hughes in order to underline their attitudes toward crucial issues integral to the African and African-American experience such as identity, racism, enslavement and colonisation. The article argues that - in Hughes's early poetry -Africa is depicted as the land of ancient civilisations in order to strengthen African-American feelings of ethnic pride during the Harlem Renaissance. This idealistic image of a pre-slavery, a pre-colonial Africa, argues the paper, disappears from the poetry of Hughes, after the Harlem Renaissance, to be replaced with a more realistic image of Africa under colonisation. The article also demonstrates that unlike Hughes, who attempts to romanticize Africa, Al-Fayturi rejects a romantic confrontation with the roots. Interrogating western colonial narratives about Africa, Al-Fayturi reconstructs pre-colonial African history in order to reveal the tragic consequences of colonisation and slavery upon the psyche of the African people. The article also points out that in their attempts to confront the oppressive powers which aim to erase the identity of their peoples, Hughes and Al-Fayturi explore areas of overlap drama between the turbulent experience of African-Americans and the catastrophic history of black Africans dismantling colonial narratives and erecting their own cultural mythology. <![CDATA[<b>The metaphor of the dog in Arabic Literature</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2008000100004&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This essay deals with the metaphor of the dog in Arabic philosophical literature. The metaphor is viewed in relation to the imagery of the rider and the horse, which vividly demonstrates the dynamic relation of the three faculties of the soul. Our focus is on the irascible faculty, the emotion of anger. The dog metaphor brings out the positive dimension of emotion. Classical Arabic literature views the soul as a substance distinct from the body, and has many illustrations showing the superiority of the soul over the body. What makes the soul special is its rational faculty, its capacity to reason. In the rider-horse imagery, the rider is the metaphor for reason, the horse the metaphor for passion, and the dog the metaphor for anger. A balanced soul coordinates these faculties in right proportion. The imagery of horse-riding, used in Arabic and Greek philosophical literature, provides the most powerful image to explain how the three faculties of the soul interact with one another. The article examines the imagery from a literary and philosophical perspective. Scientific knowledge of the horse and dog will enhance our insight and appreciation of the richness of the metaphor. The method of analysis is based on four primary classical texts: Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics in Miskawayh's eleven century Arabic translation, Tahddhib al-Akhlaq (Refinement of Character), Galen's Ethics in Arabic translation, and al-Raghib al-Isfahani's al-Dhari'ah ila Makarim al-Shari'ah ("The Means to the Noble Qualities of the Law"). <![CDATA[<b>Oriental Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2008000100005&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Arab culture and the religion of Islam permeated the traditions and customs of the African sub-Sahara for centuries. When the early colonizers from Europe arrived in Africa they encountered these influences and spontaneously perceived the African cultures to be ideologically hybridized and more compatible with Islam than with the ideologies of the west. This difference progressively endorsed a perception of Africa and the east being "exotic" and was as such depicted in early paintings and writings. This depiction contributed to a cultural misunderstanding of Africa and facilitated colonialism. This article briefly explores some of the facets of these early texts and paintings. In the first place the scripts by early Muslim scholars, who critically analyzed early western perceptions, were discussed against the textual interpretation of east-west perceptions such as the construction of "the other". Secondly, the travel writers and painters between 1860 and 1 930, who created a visual embodiment of the exotic, were discussed against the politics behind the French Realist movement that developed in France during that same period. This included the construction of a perception of exoticness as represented by literature descriptions and visual art depictions of the women of the Orient. These perceptions rendered Africa as oriental with African subjects depicted as "exotic others". <![CDATA[<b>Selected Sufi texts of Shaykh Yusuf: Translations and commentaries</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2008000100006&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Shaykh Yusuf Al-Khalwati Al-Maqassari has made his mark in Southeast Asia as a heroic figure who fought valiantly against the Dutch. However, it was his position as a Sufi shaykh that catapulted him into prominence. Before and during his period of exile, the shaykh wrote a number of important texts on tosowwuf (Sufism) that have circulated among and influenced many of his companions and students. In this article we have translated three short treatises that had been attributed to him. Although none of them was written whilst he was in exile at the Cape of Good Hope between the time of his arrival there in1694 and the time of his death in 1699, he was able to disseminate its contents to members of the nascent Cape Muslim community who had come into contact with him. <![CDATA[<b>Arabic-Afrikaans literature at the Cape</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2008000100007&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Tuan Guru - the first official imam at the Cape - used Malayu as the medium of instruction in the Dorp Street madrasah (Muslim religious school) which he established at the end of the 18th century. This changed in the middle of the 19th century when Cape Dutch was adopted as the language of instruction. While the children were familiar with this language they could not read the Latin script since they were barred from attending the public schools. Cape Muslims could, however, read the Arabic script which they had to learn for liturgical purposes - though they could not speak Arabic. To overcome this conundrum, numerous scholars and teachers began to translate Arabic texts into Cape Dutch and then transcribing these in the Latin script. These "readers" came to serve as official textbooks in the madrasahsat the Cape. This article traces the development of this genre of literature which came to be known as Arabic-Afrikaans, comments on manuscripts that were identified by Adrianus van Selms, Achmat Davids and Hans Kähler and highlights the daunting challenge of transcribing Afrikaans phonetically in the Arabic script. <![CDATA[<b>The use of the Arabic script in northern Mozambique</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2008000100008&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Northern Mozambican Muslim population has been using the Arabic script for writing in KiSwahili and local African languages for centuries. Even today, many people continue using this script in private correspondence. Despite the abundance of the documents in this script that are housed at the Mozambique Historical Archives as well as in private hands, these documents have never been addressed or researched either from linguistic, historical, cultural or religious vantage points. For the last seven years, the Archives have been trying to draw attention of the scholars and obtain funds for the preservation and research of the documents. In this article two short letters from the collection of the Mozambique Historical Archives are transcribed and translated with the help of a local shaykh who was educated within the regional historical Islamic literacy tradition. Then, the content and the protagonists of the letters were identified and analyzed with the reference to the historical context and the events of the time. Besides serving as the evidence for historical occurrences, the letters also provide a general public with a unique opportunity of "hearing the voices" of the authors and in their own words (in first person). <![CDATA[<b>Towards a conceptualization of the study of Africa's indigenous manuscript heritage and tradition</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2008000100009&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This paper share experiences of th South African Conservation Technical Team of the Timbuktu Rare Manuscripts Project in the conservation and preservation of manuscripts in Timbuktu. A manuscript is always more than just its textual information - it is a living historical entity and its study a complex web of interrelated factors: the origins, production (that is, materials, formats, script, typography, and illustration), content, use and role of books in culture, educated and society in general. The widespread availability of paper made it easier to produce these manuscripts as some of the important vehicles for transmitting of knowledge in Islamic society. Islamic written culture, particularly during the time of the European middle ages was by all accounts incomparably more brilliant than anything known in contemporary Europe. The time for studying the African manuscript tradition has never been more appropriate given the recent renewed calls for the need to reappraise African history and achievements. It must be acknowledged, however, that the study of African manuscript heritage will not be without difficulty. <![CDATA[Identity and rediscovery - Andries Visagie interviews Marita van der Vyver and Ingrid Winterbach]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2008000100010&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This paper share experiences of th South African Conservation Technical Team of the Timbuktu Rare Manuscripts Project in the conservation and preservation of manuscripts in Timbuktu. A manuscript is always more than just its textual information - it is a living historical entity and its study a complex web of interrelated factors: the origins, production (that is, materials, formats, script, typography, and illustration), content, use and role of books in culture, educated and society in general. The widespread availability of paper made it easier to produce these manuscripts as some of the important vehicles for transmitting of knowledge in Islamic society. Islamic written culture, particularly during the time of the European middle ages was by all accounts incomparably more brilliant than anything known in contemporary Europe. The time for studying the African manuscript tradition has never been more appropriate given the recent renewed calls for the need to reappraise African history and achievements. It must be acknowledged, however, that the study of African manuscript heritage will not be without difficulty. <![CDATA[<b>Huldeblyk aan Elize Botha</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2008000100011&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This paper share experiences of th South African Conservation Technical Team of the Timbuktu Rare Manuscripts Project in the conservation and preservation of manuscripts in Timbuktu. A manuscript is always more than just its textual information - it is a living historical entity and its study a complex web of interrelated factors: the origins, production (that is, materials, formats, script, typography, and illustration), content, use and role of books in culture, educated and society in general. The widespread availability of paper made it easier to produce these manuscripts as some of the important vehicles for transmitting of knowledge in Islamic society. Islamic written culture, particularly during the time of the European middle ages was by all accounts incomparably more brilliant than anything known in contemporary Europe. The time for studying the African manuscript tradition has never been more appropriate given the recent renewed calls for the need to reappraise African history and achievements. It must be acknowledged, however, that the study of African manuscript heritage will not be without difficulty. <![CDATA[<b>Met Elisabeth Eybers (1915-2007) is een fenomenale dichteres heengegaan</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2008000100012&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This paper share experiences of th South African Conservation Technical Team of the Timbuktu Rare Manuscripts Project in the conservation and preservation of manuscripts in Timbuktu. A manuscript is always more than just its textual information - it is a living historical entity and its study a complex web of interrelated factors: the origins, production (that is, materials, formats, script, typography, and illustration), content, use and role of books in culture, educated and society in general. The widespread availability of paper made it easier to produce these manuscripts as some of the important vehicles for transmitting of knowledge in Islamic society. Islamic written culture, particularly during the time of the European middle ages was by all accounts incomparably more brilliant than anything known in contemporary Europe. The time for studying the African manuscript tradition has never been more appropriate given the recent renewed calls for the need to reappraise African history and achievements. It must be acknowledged, however, that the study of African manuscript heritage will not be without difficulty. <![CDATA[<b>Vier gedigte vir Elisabeth Eybers (1915-2007)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2008000100013&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This paper share experiences of th South African Conservation Technical Team of the Timbuktu Rare Manuscripts Project in the conservation and preservation of manuscripts in Timbuktu. A manuscript is always more than just its textual information - it is a living historical entity and its study a complex web of interrelated factors: the origins, production (that is, materials, formats, script, typography, and illustration), content, use and role of books in culture, educated and society in general. The widespread availability of paper made it easier to produce these manuscripts as some of the important vehicles for transmitting of knowledge in Islamic society. Islamic written culture, particularly during the time of the European middle ages was by all accounts incomparably more brilliant than anything known in contemporary Europe. The time for studying the African manuscript tradition has never been more appropriate given the recent renewed calls for the need to reappraise African history and achievements. It must be acknowledged, however, that the study of African manuscript heritage will not be without difficulty. <![CDATA[<b>"tintelend oningekring": Elisabeth Eybers, 26 Februarie 1915 - 1 Desember 2007</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2008000100014&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This paper share experiences of th South African Conservation Technical Team of the Timbuktu Rare Manuscripts Project in the conservation and preservation of manuscripts in Timbuktu. A manuscript is always more than just its textual information - it is a living historical entity and its study a complex web of interrelated factors: the origins, production (that is, materials, formats, script, typography, and illustration), content, use and role of books in culture, educated and society in general. The widespread availability of paper made it easier to produce these manuscripts as some of the important vehicles for transmitting of knowledge in Islamic society. Islamic written culture, particularly during the time of the European middle ages was by all accounts incomparably more brilliant than anything known in contemporary Europe. The time for studying the African manuscript tradition has never been more appropriate given the recent renewed calls for the need to reappraise African history and achievements. It must be acknowledged, however, that the study of African manuscript heritage will not be without difficulty.