Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Tydskrif vir Letterkunde]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=0041-476X20130001&lang=en vol. 50 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>'As ek dáárdie nektar wil eet, dan moet ek steke verdra'</b>: <b>Stereo-tipering en vervreemding in die uitbeelding van lesbiese verhoudings in twee Afrikaanse romans</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2013000100001&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article offers a literary analysis of two neglected Afrikaans texts, namely Klipkus ("Stone Kiss", 1978) by Marlise Joubert and Requiem op ys ("Requiem on Ice", 1992) by Emma Huismans in order to explore how stereotypical understandings of lesbian sexuality structure the experiences of lesbian characters. Even as the article exposes common homophobic stereotypes, it emerges that the lesbian characters' experiences are complex and multi-faceted. The exposure to stereotypes results in a profound sense of alienation, which the characters attempt to overcome by undertaking journeys. As they struggle to deal with pain and alienation, the article demonstrates the joy that they manage to find in their relationships with one another. This joy turns out to be fleeting and compromised by social homophobic pressures. By means of a close reading of the representation of these lesbian relationships, the article both reveals and challenges common stereotypes about lesbian relationships. <![CDATA[<b>Enclosed views in the Low Countries</b>: <b>The Critical Response in the Twenty First Century to Afrikaans poetry in Dutch Translation</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2013000100002&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The South African poets Ingrid Jonker, Antjie Krog and Ronelda S. Kamfer are part of the literary system of the Low Countries. Their introduction in the Netherlands and Flanders was accomplished by translations into Dutch. An analysis of the role and the image-building of foreign literature in the Dutch-speaking world is important for (the study of) literary historiography. The presence and the reception of the three selected South African poets and their works are documented in this paper. Critics are not only interested in the literary production of national authors but also in the poetry of foreign writers (mainly available through translations). In this way, poets and their works start functioning in the literary poly-system of the Netherlands and Flanders. The manner in which images are created tells us something about the presence of Jonker, Krog and Kamfer in contemporary Dutch literature. Not only are the reactions of readers (or critics) fundamental to the study of literary reception, the way in which these writers and their poetry have gained particular positions in the literary system should also be part of the research. Revealing questions deal with the role played by intermediaries, the selection criteria for poems in anthologies, translation strategies, the promotion by commercial publishers. Foreign literature is interwoven with the poetical discourses of a national literary system. In this respect, the translated poetry by the three selected South African (Afrikaans writing) female authors is part of the borderless (Dutch) literature. <![CDATA[<b>The Nation and the Subaltern in Yvonne Vera's <i>Butterfly Burning</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2013000100003&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Yvonne Vera's death in 2005 brought to a tragic close the career of one of Zimbabwe's, indeed Africa's, more engaging contemporary writers. But her powerful novel, Butterfly Burning continues to mirror an aspect of Vera's enduring concern: the place of African women in the context of power both within the colonial and the postcolonial moments. This image of the "woman in shadows" also resonates in the kernel of the subaltern subject in Spivak's essay, "Can the Subaltern Speak?" I draw from Spivak's canonical essay, but simply as a critique of its notion of the burdened subjectivity of the colonized reified in the widow's self-immolation, and seen as a problematic condition of representation-a form of impotent silence. In contrast, I suggest that Vera's Phephelaphi directs our attention by a votive suicide that speaks. This essay thus proceeds from a re-reading of the discourse of subalternity to situate Yvonne Vera's novel as an act primarily of resistance against the situation of patriarchal enclosure under colonialism. <![CDATA[<b>Waiting for the Barbarians</b>: <b>Metahistory in the oeuvre of Peter Blum</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2013000100004&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article explores metahistory in the poetry of Peter Blum. In many of Blum's poems Western civilisation is confronted with the forces of barbarism, without civilisation necessarily being given preference over barbarism. By focussing on the metahistorical aspects of Blum's work, it is possible to illuminate the dialectical relationships between apparently disparate cultural domains in his work-past and present, Europe and South Africa-which critics up till now have treated as self-contained entities. From this angle, Blum appears to be a poet who was highly critical of white South African culture of the 1950s. <![CDATA[<b>Memory, verbal onslaught and persuasive eloquence in Armah's <i>Two Thousand Seasons</i> and <i>The Healers</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2013000100005&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Language dissects thought. In language fortified with calculated verbal vituperation and persuasive eloquence, Ayi Kwei Armah takes his audience down memory lane-a retrospect (in the characteristic manner of the Sankofa model) into the original identity of the African. Sankofa dwells on the idyllic past which serves as a model for a restructured future. One hears the evocative voice of Anoa's prophecy of two thousand seasons, wandering along other ways and finding paths of living way. The way is glaringly replete with verbal bullets with which Armah dwells on the Blackman's indulgence. This gives rise to the flagrant losing of "the way" to the "predators" and "destroyers" in Two Thiousand Seasons. In his advocacy for a restoration to the forgotten way, Armah's verbal onslaught provokes sharp awakening that propels the people to a positive action to recover the lost way into "understanding the mind beyond despair to healing work". In The Healers therefore, Armah's in-depth philosophies led by the master healer, Damfo and the trainee healer, Densu provide keys to the restoration of black people and racial renewal. The focus of this study is Armah's eloquent intellectual expressions: evocative poetic lamentation, prophecy, symbolism, and studded imagery of brutality, servitude and restoration. The work concludes by demonstrating Armah's achievements with the deployment of linguistic weapons. Has he succeeded in making his reader / audience see clearly the Blackman's annals of misdemeanor and the consequences? How realistic is his redemptive posture into Ebibirmann, the liberated community of black people? This is the crux of this paper intertwined with Sankofa <![CDATA[<b>The masquerade of death macabre in the North</b>: <b>strange revolutionary aesthetics in Nigeria</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2013000100006&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en In the late 1960s, all manner of assaults were directed between the Biafran secessionists and their Nigerian counterparts. As a result, unresolved ethnic, economic and-socio-political lines exposed the "harvest" of the 1966-70 revolution. This harvest of corruption and military rule spilled into the 1980s and 90s creating resistant groups until the millennium age which ushered in new revolutionary tactics. Between 1970 when the revolution was officially declared ended till date, Nigerians have been made to harvest "proceeds" of both the colonial and postcolonial "legacies" which many critics pin down on bad leadership. For instance, while the steaming smoke from the battle nozzles of the Niger Delta revolutionaries is yet to fade away, the Northern region, under the violence of Boko Haram (Western Education is forbidden/sinful) has caused panic in the political arena. Against the backdrop of the current "global awakening," this paper, through some critical works and Nigerian fictional artefacts, takes a careful examination of one particular aspect of this "harvest," particularly the disillusionment and subsequent reactions of the people in various revolutionary garbs. The paper concludes that the amnesty antidote offered by the Nigerian leadership is simply a toothless escapist remedy. The position of this exploration is that the current militants or revolutionaries in any of the Nigerian geopolitical zones are reactive hydra-monsters created by a failing system where the national wealth has been hijacked by a few. Until this wealth is justly distributed, more chameleonic colours of revolutionaries are bound to emerge from the same system. <![CDATA[<b>Inter-oceanic passages</b>: <b>from the French Antilles to Madagascar and back</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2013000100007&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en In order to gauge the possibilities of producing a minor literature in French, as defined by Deleuze and Guattari in their groundbreaking work on Kafka, we have confronted two books of contemporary authors who position themselves at the forefront of francophone postcolonial literature: Le Nègre et l'Amiral (1988) by Raphaël Confiant, a writer from Martinique famous for his praise of creolity; and Za (2008) by Jean-Luc Raharimanana, a lesser-known and seemingly more radical writer from Madagascar, based in Paris. They both seem to share a common purpose of representing the population of their respective islands by their particular way of pronouncing the French language: either by creolizing it, as is the case with Confiant, or by pronouncing it with a lisp, as in Za. But these variations of the French language lead to totally opposite aesthetics. Whereas the first attempt is marked by excessive verbal display, the second one seems to function almost by default: a painful scream wrapped in near silence. Indeed, Le Nègre et l'Amiral is dominated by images of verticality and erection, which translates in the cooccurrence of multiple version of the same events, while Zafavours the horizontality of bodies and corpses lying down. From within the politico-literary context in which they were published, these works offer two different solutions to the same problem: how to escape the normative tendencies enshrined in a major language such as French, and flee or chase the discourse of the master. <![CDATA[<b>Culturalism and existentialist thought- A reading of Julien Kilanga Musinde's <i>Retour de manivelle</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2013000100008&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Published in 2008, the novel Retour de manivelle by Julien Kilanga Musinde revives the unfinished debate related to the search of identity in African writing. The universe depicted represents the modern society and Musinde's main character is changing as fast as he relocates to a different society. The author depicts this flexibility as a strength that commands the adaptability of the character without suppressing the initial culture of the protagonist. Musinde chooses to freely express his fantasy and, at the same time, integrate his subjective world vision and multidimensional scholarship in the interpretation of the identity. The question of culture being central to the novel, the paper is aimed at demonstrating, however, that the culture that is depicted as both exclusive and dynamic in Musinde's work should be understood mainly in cyclic perception in which both the starting and the arrival points are joining in a unique individual subjectivity, such a subjectivity having the potential of engendering a new discourse by attempting to juxtapose conflicting ways of life. The paper also demonstrates how Musinde distances himself from the materialistic world vision commonly expressed by existentialists and Epicurean philosophers. This attitude allows the author to reflect on the interconnectivity between the immediate empirical reality and the world beyond from the perspective of a transnational African intellectual in a globalizing world. <![CDATA[<b>The festschrift tradition in African literature</b>: <b>Its implications for the future of African literary criticism</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2013000100009&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Within the past nearly two decades or so, a number of festschrifts on African literary icons and other scholars have been published, suggesting a paradigm shift in the preferred choices of publication options open to critics of African literature. The front burner position which festschrifts now seem to occupy, the variegated nature of their structural configurations, the baggage of doubtful mix that we often get from their editors and the doubtful quality of a number of the papers published in them, are the main factors that have inspired the writing of this essay. We note that in spite of the usefulness of festschrifts as publication outlets which younger critics have often found handy, a number of inherent weaknesses have already manifested from the above-named factors, and we believe that these are portentous for African literature if they go on unchecked. Drawing analytical evidence from over twenty-five festschrifts published since 1994, this paper examines the implications of the festschrift tradition for the future of African literary criticism. <![CDATA[<b>Jakes Gerwel (1946-2012)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2013000100010&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Within the past nearly two decades or so, a number of festschrifts on African literary icons and other scholars have been published, suggesting a paradigm shift in the preferred choices of publication options open to critics of African literature. The front burner position which festschrifts now seem to occupy, the variegated nature of their structural configurations, the baggage of doubtful mix that we often get from their editors and the doubtful quality of a number of the papers published in them, are the main factors that have inspired the writing of this essay. We note that in spite of the usefulness of festschrifts as publication outlets which younger critics have often found handy, a number of inherent weaknesses have already manifested from the above-named factors, and we believe that these are portentous for African literature if they go on unchecked. Drawing analytical evidence from over twenty-five festschrifts published since 1994, this paper examines the implications of the festschrift tradition for the future of African literary criticism. http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0041-476X2013000100011&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en