1887

n South African Journal of Cultural History - Constructing the history of the strandloper and Khoi-Khoi : Hjalmar Thesen’s historical trilogy

Volume 32 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1011-3053

Abstract

To a noteworthy degree, the cultural history of South African is the story of how writers in diverse nonfictional and fictional genres have perceived and constructed the interaction of the region’s many cultures and ethnic groups. For many decades, that has been the case in writing about early contacts between the Khoi-Khoi and San inhabitants and the Europeans who began to arrive in the seventeenth century. The historical novels by Hjalmar Thesen which deal with this broadly defined theme have almost completely escaped scholarly attention. His meritorious trilogy The Echoing Cliffs, The Castle of Giants, and Master of None broke new ground by tracing the profound transition which the indigenous peoples in the Southern Cape underwent between the earliest arrival of Europeans and the Great Trek in the 1830s.Thesen’s portrayal of these groups’ loss of much of their culture is explored in this article, which also reveals how these novels do not readily fit central assertions of Colonial Discourse Theory. It is argued that an awareness of Thesen’s foundational ecological concerns can enlighten a reading of his trilogy. The analysis of these historical works is placed into the context of South African history in the 1960s when they were written.


Die konstruksie van die geskiedenis van die strandloper en die Khoi-Khoi: Hjalmar Thesen se historiese trilogie
Dit is merkwaardig hoe die kultuurgeskiedenis van Suid-Afrika die verhaal is van hoe skrywers in diverse nie-fiktiewe en fiktiewe genres die interaksie van die streek se baie kulture en etniese groepe waargeneem en gekonstrueer het. Vir baie dekades was dit die geval as geskryf is oor vroeë kontak tussen die Khoi-Khoi- en San-inwoners en die Europeërs wat in die sewentiende eeu begin arriveer het. Hjalmar Thesen se historiese romans wat oor hierdie breë tema handel, het wetenskaplike aandag bykans geheel en al ontsnap. Sy verdienstelike trilogie The Echoing Cliffs, The Castle of Giants en Master of None was ‘n deurbraak ten opsigte van die ingrypende verandering wat die inheemse volke in die Suid-Kaap ondergaan het in die tydperk tussen die aankoms van die eerste Europeërs en die Groot Trek in die 1830’s. Hierdie artikel ondersoek Thesen se uitbeelding van hierdie groepe se kultuurverlies en onthul ook hoe die romans nie geredelik in die sentrale bewerings van die koloniale diskoersteorie pas nie. Daar word aangevoer dat kennis van Thesen se fundamentale ekologiese besorgdhede kan bydra tot die begrip van sy trilogie. Hierdie historiese werke word ontleed in die konteks van die Suid-Afrikaanse geskiedenis in die 1960’s, toe dit geskryf is.

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/content/journal/10520/EJC-14fceb9f2a
2018-12-01
2019-10-17

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