n Shakespeare in Southern Africa - Biko, Shakespeare and Black Consciousness

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



This essay falls within a recognisable sub-field of Shakespeare studies; critical writings on 'Shakespeare and race' or 'race in Shakespeare.' In South Africa such work has tended to focus either on Solomon Plaatje's translations of certain plays, Shakespeare and the writers, problematic adaptations such as , or post-apartheid appropriations. Steve Biko, the influential Black Consciousness writer and an iconic martyr for his death at the hands of apartheid authorities, has tended to be neglected within this sub-field. My intention here is to redress that omission by invoking Biko's way of thinking in his widely disseminated and widely quoted book, (1978), and then by applying that thinking to selected Shakespearean dramatic texts. In the final section, I want to show that Shakespeare's texts suggest surprising additional ideas about Black Consciousness (BC) that find an affirmative response in Biko's own work.

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