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n Journal of Literary Studies - "The Foot Does Not Sniff" : imagining the post--apartheid intellectual

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Abstract

The South African literary institution is engaged in an examination of both its role in the history of apartheid and its potential futures. Originating in Edward Said's search for an alternative to a "politics of blame", this article considers recent attempts to explore the possibility of "secular interpretation" in (and of) the South African context. Leon de Kock's trope of "the seam" and Mark Sanders's notion of "complicity" are considered. We characterise both as postdialectical descriptions of the interconnections that define South African (multivalent) being and mark its inscription. Further, we suggest that their postdialectical turn, despite the authors' primary concern with the history of identity and historiography, advocates a persuasive mode of scholarship for engaging contemporary South African identity. <br>Leaving the domain of scholarly debate, we turn to a literary representation of the contemporary South African intellectual. We look at the figure of Camagu in Zakes Mda's <I>The Heart of Redness&lt;/I&gt; (2000) in the belief that he, caught as he is between contending cults of interpretation, embodies something of the practice of secular critique sought by Said, De Kock, and Sanders. Through Camagu, we maintain, it is possible for us to describe aspects of the dilemma of the "post-<I>anti</I>-apartheid" intellectual as well as the potential of a nondialectical engagement with both our past and our present.

Die Suid-Afrikaanse literêre instelling is gemoeid met 'n ondersoek na die rol van die geskiedenis van apartheid en sy potensiële toekomste. Hierdie artikel, wat sy oorsprong het in Said se soeke na 'n alternatief vir 'n "politiek van blaam", oorweeg resente pogings om die moontlikheid van "sekulêre interpretasie" in (en van) die Suid- Afrikaanse konteks te ondersoek. Leon de Kock se uitdrukking, nl. die "las" ("the seam") en Mark Sanders se idee van komplisiteit word oorweeg. Ons karakteriseer albei as postdialektiese beskrywings van die interkonneksies wat die Suid-Afrikaanse (multivalente) wese definieer en sy inskripsie kenskets. Verder suggereer ons dat hulle postdialektiese keerpunt, ten spyte van die outeurs se primêre saak met die geskiedenis van identiteit en historiografie, 'n oortuigende modus van vakkundigheid voorstaan om die Suid-Afrikaanse identiteit aan te neem. &lt;br&gt; Ons laat vaar die wetenskaplike debat en wend ons tot 'n literêre voorstelling van die kontemporêre Suid-Afrikaanse intellektueel. Ons beskou die figuur Camagu in Zakes Mda se <I>The Heart of Redness&lt;/I&gt; (2000) in die mening dat hy, vasgevang soos hy is tussen strydende kultusse van interpretasie, iets van die praktyk van sekulêre kritiek wat deur Said, De Kock, en Sanders nagestreef word, verpersoonlik. Ons voer aan dat dit deur Camagu vir ons moontlik is om aspekte van die dilemma van die "post-<I>anti</I>- apartheid" intellektueel en ook die potensiaal van 'n nie-dialektiese verbintenis met sowel ons verlede as ons hede te beskryf.

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/content/litstud/19/3_4/EJC62361
2003-12-01
2016-12-07
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