n Shakespeare in Southern Africa - The problem with "coconuttiness"
Shakespeare and the Coconuts: On Post-apartheid South African Culture, Natasha Distiller : book review

Volume 25, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-582X



As intimated by the conjunction in its title, this book is a multi-layered deliberation on a range of interconnected concerns and themes. Seemingly in dialogue, in part, with Kopano Matlwa's novel and Andile Mngxitama's short article for newspaper - "Coconut Kids have Lost Touch with Their Roots" - Distiller takes on a range of socio-political, educational and cultural attitudes in post-apartheid South Africa concerning "the relationship between race, culture, privilege, and language" that she finds "ignorant", "flawed" and potentially "dangerous" (23). With Shakespeare serving as the constant icon, uber-text and thematic thread, the crux of her project is to interrogate the socio-political history and ideological significances of the different ways in which Shakespeare and his texts have been, amongst others, used, interpreted and appropriated "in South African history, politics and materiality ... and why this history matters" (3).

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