Tydskrif vir Letterkunde
On-line version ISSN 2309-9070
Print version ISSN 0041-476X
VAN NIEKERK, Jacomien. Urbanisation, South African literatures and the cultural text. Tydskr. letterkd. [online]. 2011, vol.48, n.2, pp.50-70. ISSN 2309-9070.
Despite many efforts to publish comprehensive literary histories of South or Southern Africa in recent years, few studies exist in which a thorough comparative study is undertaken between two or more South African literatures. This article wants to provide a practical example of such a study by comparing the urbanisation of Afrikaners in Afrikaans literature with that of black people as seen in English and Zulu literature. The statement made by Ampie Coetzee that comparative studies should take place within the framework of discursive formations is one of the fundamental starting points of this study. Maaike Meijer's concept of the "cultural text" is further employed as a theoretical instrument. The identification of repeating sets of representation is central to the demarcation of a "cultural text about urbanisation" in Afrikaans, English and Zulu literature respectively. The cultural text forms the basis from which a valid comparative study can be embarked upon, and the results of the research have important implications for further comparative studies but also literary historiography.
Keywords : comparative literary studies; cultural text; South African literary historiography; urbanisation.