1887

n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - Existence and essence in Venda oral literature : original research

 

Abstract

This article analyses two Venda ngano narratives that portray coming-of-age experiences. Viewed in juxtaposition, they express the radical shift from premodern modes of material and symbolic production to the reified consciousness of capitalist relations. This shift implicates the rootedness of local world views and global market forces within colonial and Western history, as well as contemporary political and economic conditions. The first narrative accordingly describes a classic rite of passage towards adulthood and citizenship within an ancient, precolonial world. Its protagonist is the culture hero whose society prioritises qualities and ideals like spirituality and social integration. In contrast, the second story is located in the colonial world. Its young hero migrates from his rural village to the city, andhis adventure is an embryonic representation of the sociopolitical and racial dynamics of the colonial encounter. His actions evolve within a modernist world view, specifically a rational materialism driven by a teleology of progress that conceives economic organisation as the mediator of social relationships and personal fulfilment. The engagement of these diverse world views with history is explored from a perspective that aligns the ancient Venda concept of zwivhuya with Fromm's notion of qualitative freedom, of actualisation in all realms of human experience and of transcendence in all forms. The resplendent materiality presented in the second narrative is accordingly argued to conceal a spectre of fear and incomplete self awareness. This poses a dilemma that speaks to all humanity, namely the need to transform the actual poverty of reified materiality into the wealth of an integrated world.

Hierdie artikel ontleed twee Venda ngano narratiewe wat volwassewording uitbeeld. Saamgelees openbaar hierdie verhale die radikale verskuiwing van premoderne vorms van materiële en simboliese produksie totdie gereïfiseerde bewussyn van kapitalistiese verhoudings. Hierdie verskuiwing toon aanhoe gewortel plaaslike wêreldsbeskouings en globale markkragte is binne die koloniale en Westerse geskiedenis, asook kontemporêre politieke en ekonomiese omstandighede. Die eerste narratief beskryf derhalwe 'n klassieke deurgangsrite na volwassenheid en burgerskap in 'n antieke, voorkoloniale wêreld. Die protagonis is 'n kultuurheld wie se samelewing voorrang gee aan kwaliteite en ideale soos spiritualiteit en sosiale integrasie. In teenstelling hiermee ontvou die tweede narratief in die koloniale wêreld. Die jong held verhuis van die platteland na die stad, en sy avontuur is 'n embrioniese uitbeelding van die sosiopolitieke en rassedinamiekvan die koloniale ontmoeting. Sy optrede word bepaal deur 'n modernistiese uitkyk, spesifiek 'n rasionele materialisme wat gedryf word deur 'n teleologie van vooruitgang waarvolgens ekonomiese organisasie die mediator van sosiale verhoudinge en persoonlike vervullingis. Die skakeling van hierdie uiteenlopende wêreldsbeskouings met die geskiedenis wordverken vanuit 'n perspektief wat die antieke Venda konsep van zwivhuya belyn met Fromm se begrip van kwalitatiewe vryheid, van aktualisering in alle domeine van menslike ervaring en van transendensie in alle vorme. Derhalwe word daar aangevoer dat die glinsterende materialiteit in die tweede narratief in der waarheid 'n skrikbeeld van vrees en gebrekkige selfgewaarwording verdoesel. En so kom die ganse mensdom te staan voor 'n gedeeldedilemma, naamlik die noodsaaklikheid om die werklike armoede van 'n gereïfiseerde materialiteit te transformeer tot die rykdom van 'n geïntegreerde wêreld.

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/content/literat/36/1/EJC181553
2015-01-01
2016-12-06
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