1887

n Journal of Literary Studies - Blood money : an examination of oral narratives concerning wealth-giving snakes in the career of Khotso Sethuntsa , with particular focus on their socioeconomic implications : conference proceedings

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Abstract

This article examines the oral narratives concerning the millionaire herbalist Khotso Sethuntsa's purported ownership of wealth-giving snakes and his career as a seller of these magical serpents, a practice known as <I>uthwala</I>. It is argued that the &lt;I&gt;uthwala&lt;/I&gt; narratives featuring Khotso Sethuntsa (hereafter referred to as the Khotso narratives) are shaped by the specific milieu from which they spring. Particular attention is paid to socioeconomic factors in this regard. The Khotso narratives provide a striking illustration of the way in which socioeconomic changes in South African society affected not only the material world but also perceptions of the indigenous spirit world. A number of other significant contextual aspects are taken into consideration, including the effect of Western religion on African belief systems and consequently, on indigenous oral narratives. This study also pays attention to the moral dimension of the Khotso narratives, examining the way in which these accounts can provide a way of passing moral judgement on one particularly wealthy individual who flaunted his wealth in a poverty-stricken community. The moralising dimension of the Khotso narratives is related to the way in which these stories express some of their narrators' needs, preoccupations and desires, while serving as a means of realising some of these desires, albeit purely at an imaginative level. Finally, the Khotso narratives offer insights into the nature and function of oral narrative in the South African context.

Hierdie artikel ondersoek die mondelinge narratiewe oor die miljoenêr-kruiedokter Khotso Sethsuntsa se beweerde besit van slange wat mense ryk maak, en sy loopbaan as 'n handelaar in hierdie magiese slange; 'n praktyk wat bekend staan as <I>uthwala</I>. Daar word aangevoer dat die <I>uthwala</I>-narratiewe (vervolgens na verwys as die Khotsonarratiewe) gevorm word deur die spesifieke milieu van hulle ontstaan. Besondere aandag word gegee aan die sosio-ekonomiese veranderings in die Suid-Afrikaanse samelewing wat nie alleen die materiële wêreld nie, maar ook persepsies van die eielandse spirituele wêreld affekteer het. 'n Aantal ander veelseggende kontekstuele aspekte word in aanmerking geneem, insluitend die uitwerking van Westerse godsdiens op Afrika-geloofsisteme en gevolglik op eielandse mondelinge narratiewe. Daar word ook aandag geskenk aan die morele dimensie deur die wyse te ondersoek waarop hierdie verhale ruimte laat vir morele oordele ten opsigte van een besonder welgestelde individu wat te koop loop met sy rykdom in 'n brandarm gemeenskap. Die moraliserende dimensie van die Khotso-narratiewe hou verband met die wyse waarop hierdie stories sommige van die verteller se behoeftes, preokkupasies en begeertes uitdruk, terwyl dit ook die doel dien om sommige van hierdie begeertes te realiseer, hetsy op 'n suiwer denkbeeldige vlak. Die Khotso-narratiewe bied ten slotte insig in die aard en funksie van mondelinge narratiewe in die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks.

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/content/litstud/21/1_2/EJC62387
2005-06-01
2016-12-06
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