n English in Africa - The early reception of

Volume 31, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0376-8902



The early reception of Peteni's novel is interesting because it illustrates the mind-sets and critical assumptions of those who first mediated the novel to different readerships. The book initially caused little stir either in South Africa or abroad, and it has made its way quietly in later years in no small part due to support from set-work prescription committees, and its translation into other media, radio and television. A one-off novel by an unknown writer is unlikely to gather critical momentum in international discussion, and the book has been more often noticed in academic studies focused on the Xhosa novel, some of which barely register that the work was first written in English. However, today it is certainly among the novels most widely-read by ordinary South Africans, not only those from the Eastern Cape, but among many throughout the country who encountered it at school.

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