oa Alternation - Mandela's Ego: a 'Cock' and 'Bull' story

Volume 15, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



Mandela's Ego (2006), Nkosi says, developed from a fantastical ideal, which is, of course, why it is a novel, in a certain sense of the word anyway. It can be seen against what Lewis Nkosi has said about writing by black South Africans in English, namely, that ... its [writing by black South Africans in English] formal insufficiencies, its disappointing breadline asceticism and prim disapproval of irony, and its well-known predilection for what Lukacs called 'petty realism, the trivially detailed painting of local colour' ... can be seen to be a result, in part, of a claustrophobia related to ... internal colonialism from which, it is hoped, a post-apartheid condition will set it free (1998:77).Whereas this line of inquiry into black South African writing in English has become all too familiar, albeit its credentials remain contested, what is a more urgent question today is whether the hope of the freedom to experiment (with irony and fantastical tales, for instance) post-apartheid has been realised in the recent literature by black South African writers, including Nkosi's Mandela's Ego as a case in point.

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