oa Alternation - The Rediscovery of the ordinary - remarks about a literary debate in South Africa

Volume 6, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



As early as 1967 Lewis Nkosi, in his essay 'Fiction by Black South African Authors', remarked that in most literary texts produced by black authors 'the journalistic fact parade[s] outrageously as imaginative literature' (Nkosi 1981 :222). What results from this, in his view, is that the 'social facts' are not, or only superficially, transcoded or transformed into the appropriately literary shape of 'artistically persuasive works of fiction' (Nkosi 1981 :222). Considering the writers Nkosi is referring to in his essay-among others he mentions the names of authors as important as Alex La Guma, Richard Rive or Ezekiel Mphahlele-his statement is somewhat too acerbic.

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