English in Africa - Volume 38, Issue 3, 2011
Volumes & issues
Volume 38, Issue 3, 2011
"A teaspoon of milk in a bucketful of coffee" : the discourse of race relations in early twentieth-century South AfricaSource: English in Africa 38, pp 9 –28 (2011)More Less
This year, 2010, marks the centenary of the creation of the Union of South Africa (and the modern South African state). From our vantage point, the South Africa Act of 1909 and the formal event of Union on 31 May 1910 cannot but seem shabby milestones in the country's long shabby history of racially discriminatory legislation. But it may be salutary to be reminded of just how far the public discourse on race and race relations has shifted over the past century. In this essay I canvass a range of popular contemporary English-language sources, mainly non-literary, in order to adumbrate the discourse in which, in the years between the South African War and the First World War (and beyond), white South Africans discussed the politics and future of race relations in the country.
Author Matthew ShumSource: English in Africa 38, pp 35 –58 (2011)More Less
Although Thomas Pringle produced a significant body of work during his residence in the Cape Colony, he also wrote extensively about this experience from a metropolitan vantage heavily invested in his public role as the secretary of the Anti-Slavery Society and an active campaigner in parliamentary pressure groups concerned with colonial reform. Any appraisal of Pringle's work which fails to take into account these shifting perspectives, and reads it as a continuum rather than as divided by different locations and intentions, runs the risk of simplifying. This simplification tends to construct Pringle's work as a telos of liberal development when it was very often conjunctural and improvised, responding to circumstances (often entirely novel) as they arose or retrospectively refashioning them.
Author Stephen GraySource: English in Africa 38, pp 59 –70 (2011)More Less
The purpose of this article is twofold: to examine a neglected aspect of the otherwise well-documented career of William Plomer (1903-73), and then to draw attention to his role as a backstage negotiator on behalf of our literary figures, in Britain as well as in his country of birth, South Africa. Both these sides of his otherwise well-publicised activities involved a contrastingly humble, off-the-record quality, which we would call anonymous and unsigned, so that it is unsurprising if they have been overlooked by the fine chroniclers of his rich life and abundant works.
Author Hermann WittenbergSource: English in Africa 38, pp 71 –89 (2011)More Less
This essay seeks to explore the question of origins: the beginnings of the literary career of arguably South Africa's most significant author, and the development of a form of authorship that was, at its inception, situated both locally and globally. An archaeology of the publication history of the debut novel Dusklands (1974) can shed light on the emergence of a particularly complex form of transnational authorship that J. M. Coetzee came to assume, a form locating itself within the South African literary landscape while simultaneously connecting itself to broader international literary currents.
Author J.U. JacobsSource: English in Africa 38, pp 91 –112 (2011)More Less
Reviewers of Damon Galgut's novel, In a Strange Room, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, are in agreement about its most distinctive quality. Toby Lichtig describes it as a narrative which "radiates alienation" (21); Philip Womack characterises Galgut as "a master of isolation and intensity;" while Eileen Battersby defines the theme of the novel as "loneliness and the search for love," adding that Galgut "invariably describes psychological suffering and emotional alienation with the accuracy of a punch dispatched hard and deep to the stomach." Jan Morris lists a number of "preferred Galgutian words" that convey the quality of In a Strange Room: "placelessness, free-fall, centreless, inertia, unweighted, substanceless" (41). And Maria Russo begins her review by saying of the novel's protagonist that "he moves from place to place and country to country 'in acute anxiety,' like a fever running its course."
Author Daniel LehmanSource: English in Africa 38, pp 113 –129 (2011)More Less
Tsotsi's surprise Oscar for best foreign language film at the 2006 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the resulting critical attention it brought to South African cinema prepared the stage for Ralph Ziman's Jerusalema (2008), a visual retake of Johannesburg outlaw culture that draws heavily on the complex imagery of Psalm 137 and recasts Hillbrow as the new fallen city on a hill. Reviews of Ziman's film in Variety, Screen Daily, and Sight & Sound were quick to link the two films, and like Gavin Hood's Tsotsi, Ziman's Jerusalema was nominated by the National Film and Video Foundation of South Africa for a foreign language Oscar. Perhaps because it did not offer Western tastemakers as palatable a menu of South African forgiveness and reconciliation (or perhaps because it simply was not as good), Jerusalema not only did not bring Oscar's golden statue back to South Africa, but indeed did not make the cut of five foreign language finalists at the 2009 Academy Award ceremonies.
Guides to ... histories of ... who delineates the field? On reading The Columbia Guide to South African Literature ... : review articleAuthor Michael ChapmanSource: English in Africa 38, pp 131 –140 (2011)More Less
The question in the title above is prompted by my being invited to review the recently published 251-page Columbia Guide to South African Literature in English since 1945 (2010), by Gareth Cornwell, Dirk Klopper and Craig MacKenzie. It is a guide that follows closely on another guide, the A-Z of African Writers: A Guide to Modern African Writing in English (2009), compiled by Robin Malan, and draws upon several earlier sources including the Companion to South African English Literature (Adey et al. 1986) and the extensive files of the National English Literary Museum (NELM).
Secretary of the Invisible : The Idea of Hospitality in the Fiction of J.M. Coetzee, Mike Marais : review articleAuthor Lucy Valerie GrahamSource: English in Africa 38, pp 141 –145 (2011)More Less
To develop Mike Marais's argument in his carefully considered account of Coetzee's fiction, one could regard the process of reviewing, my task here, as a form of conscientiousness in which the reviewer must respectfully host the "otherness" of the academic critic's viewpoint, while maintaining an ethical responsibility to the literary text being discussed, and particularly to that within the literary text which cannot be assimilated or accounted for within the domain of literary criticism. So, the reviewer undertakes a delicate task.
Author Lindiwe DoveySource: English in Africa 38, pp 147 –152 (2011)More Less
Men in African Film & Fiction positions itself as the first scholarly attempt to provide a comprehensive study of the representation of male characters in novels and films by African writers and filmmakers. It consists of a brief (six-page long) introduction by the editor of the collection, Lahoucine Ouzgane, and twelve essays, organised into two separate sections titled, respectively, 'Man & Nation in Africa' and 'Alternative Masculinities.' With a few notable exceptions, almost all of the contributing authors are literature scholars located within English Departments. The essays cover broad geographical terrain, from North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Morocco), to West Africa (Cameroon, Senegal), to East Africa (Kenya, Uganda), to Southern Africa (Zimbabwe, South Africa), as well as paying attention to African diaspora communities beyond the continent (Martinique).