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n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - Let's sing our heroes : a comparison of biographical series for children in Kenya and South Africa : research article

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Abstract


In hierdie artikel word twee reekse biografieë wat vir kinders bedoel is en wat handel oor prominente persoonlikhede in Kenia en Suid-Afrika, vergelyk. In die beredeneringslyn wat in die artikel gevolg word, is die doel om die belangrikste kenmerke van die biografieë te ondersoek en om die belangrikheid van biografieë binne die algemene veld van kinderliteratuur aan te toon. Deur 'n teks van elke reeks te ondersoek, word die spesifieke maniere nagegaan waarop die skrywers hierdie persoonlikhede vergestalt as hulle lande se volkshelde. Verder word ook nagegaan hoe geslag weergegee word in die twee reekse en word aangevoer dat sowel mans as vroue deel is van enige land se helde. Onderliggend aan die beredering hiervan word geïmpliseer dat biografieë belangrik is vir die uitbeelding van die verhale van albei lande se helde - belangrik ook vir die onderrig van elke land se geskiedenis aan die jeug. 'n Algemene motief van harde werk resoneer in hierdie reekse. Individuele biografieë kan dus aangewend word as anekdotes om te kommunikeer met, en om jeugdige lesers aan te moedig. Die skrywers van hierdie biografieë doen as't ware iets ingrypends deur kinders as rolmodelle voor te hou. Verder is hierdie rolmodelle nie abstrakte en denkbeeldige karakters nie, maar regte mense, wat groot opofferings gemaak het vir hulle land - mense met wie kinders maklik kan identifiseer.

In this article two series of biographies written for children, and dealing with prominent personalities in Kenya and South Africa, are com-pared. In the line of argumentation developed the aim is to examine the main features in these biographies, and to indicate the importance of biographies in the general field of children's literature. By examining a sample text from each series the specific ways in which the authors mould these personalities into heroes of their countries are scrutinised. Furthermore the way in which gender is represented in the two series is also examined and it is argued that both men and women form part of any country's gallery of heroes. Underlying the main argument of the article is the contention that biographies are important in perpetuating the stories of the two countries' heroes: also in teaching the history of each country to the young. A general motif of hard work resonates in these works, and therefore it is asserted that individuals' biographies can be used as anecdotes to communicate with and to inspire and encourage young readers. The authors of the biographies actually intervene by presenting children with role models. Furthermore these role models are not abstract fictional characters but real human beings who made great sacrifices for their countries - people with whom children are thus able to identify.

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/content/literat/25/3/EJC61815
2004-12-01
2016-12-08
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