oa Alternation - Marginality, Afrikaans Literature and 'The Undefined Work of Freedom'

Volume 5, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



Sometimes there are texts-and even moments in texts-which seem curiously predisposed to grabbing the attention of readers. For me, as reader of Afrikaans literature, such a text has from my first reading been 'And our fathers that begat us' in a collection of short stories by Koos Prinsloo entitled Die hemel help ons (1987)1. In this story a young man returns the day before Christmas to his parental home in Natal for a short visit, during which, as we learn at the end of the story, he 'reveals' (Prinsloo 1987:26) something to his father. Within the context formed by the stories in the collection it is probable that this 'revelation' concerned his sexuality. More specifically it is probable that he used the visit to tell his father that he was homosexual. This 'fact' is however never stated explicitly in the story, the focus rather falling on a narrative reconstruction by the young man of the lives of his ancestors.

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