n English in Africa - Herman Charles Bosman : a man of profound contradictions

Volume 43, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0376-8902



Herman Charles Bosman is best known for his humorous short stories with signature twist endings. He is less well known for his essays and journalistic writing, which illustrate another side of this enigmatic man. This essay focuses on the paradox that Bosman was (and continues to be) and aims to respond to the following questions: How are we to understand the identity of Herman Charles Bosman? How did he contribute towards an understanding of language and culture in South Africa during his lifetime? Was Bosman consistent in expressing his views through his literary works, or is there evidence of incongruity? These complexities are explored by, first, paying close attention to various biographies on Bosman. His hybrid identity is then illustrated by providing examples of the many pseudonyms he employed over a period of time. This is followed by discussion of several of Bosman's non-fiction pieces, highlighting how contradictions are apparent in his beliefs and philosophy. The essay concludes that Bosman vacillated in both his writing and his beliefs, and was indeed a man of contradictions.

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