Tydskrif vir Letterkunde
On-line version ISSN 2309-9070
Print version ISSN 0041-476X
RAFAPA, L. J. and MAHORI, Freddy. Exorcising the ghost of the past: the abandonment of obsession with apartheid in Mpe's Welcome to Our Hillbrow. Tydskr. letterkd. [online]. 2011, vol.48, n.2, pp.155-170. ISSN 2309-9070.
This article examines how Phaswane Mpe's post-apartheid novel, Welcome to Our Hillbrow (2000), responds to Njabulo Ndebele's idea of "rediscovering the ordinary". This is probed through analyses of themes, characterization and style. It will be argued that, through Welcome to Our Hillbrow, Mpe makes a call for introspection to the black South African populace of the post-apartheid era, so that instead of simplistically continuing to blame social ills on (the legacy of) apartheid, they examine their own attitudes, thoughts, perceptions and feelings regarding socio-political problems like corruption, crime, xenophobia and HIV/ AIDS. In this respect Mpe stands apart from other black South African writers, such as Zakes Mda, who have produced their writings in the post-apartheid period. Ndebele's theory denounces the "spectacular" way of writing, which he sees as characterising the literary output of black South African writers during the apartheid era. However, this perspective has relevance beyond the apartheid era, in as far as black South African fiction writers should not deny society its natural wholeness of existence by not exploring diverse themes.
Keywords : Phaswane Mpe; post-apartheid; 'rediscovering the ordinary'; South African literature.