oa Alternation - The historical dimension of South African autobiography

Volume 7, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



South African autobiographical writing has a long and varied history. Dating back to the colonial era marked by such historically distinctive works as Kingsley Fairbridge's The Autobiography of Kingsley Fairbridge (1927) and Francis Carey Slater's Settler's Heritage (1954), autobiographical -self-representation has undergone various mutations and the autobiographical form itself has assumed many sub-genres. The essays collected in this issue cover such diverse forms of life writing as fictional autobiography, autobiographical fiction, life-stories, conventional autobiographies and collaborative autobiography. Mainly because of its strong historical dimension, autobiography serves the crucial function of reflecting, analysing and interpreting the racial, ethnic, class and gender differences in the South Africa community. As shown in the articles in this issue, writers of autobiographies, life-stories, autobiographical novels and other forms of life-writing have offered personalized interpretations of and challenges to hegemonic ideologies and institutional practices in the history of South Africa.

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