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n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - Between freedom and self-subjection : the dilemma of writing in an African language : research article

Volume 27, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0258-2279
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Abstract

This article is an analysis of the dilemmas that confront an author who chooses to write in an African language. (Language choice remains a particularly vexing issue in African literature.) On the one hand a language that he is a master of gives him the freedom to assert himself and oppose the imperial way of thinking, which is liberating. On the other hand choice of language confines his work to a specific audience and a particular set of literary canons. Sometimes certain influential gatekeepers overtly prescribe boundaries and limit the possibilities of transcending them. On the other hand, as a case study of Sesotho literature shows, the literature itself manifests generic and thematic propensities that limit the freedom of literary expression. From the subjective and privileged position of being a writer in Sesotho himself the author in the end makes a number of suggestions on how to overcome this stifling status quo.


Hierdie artikel is 'n analise van die dilemmas waarmee 'n skrywer te kampe het wat kies om in 'n Afrikataal te skryf. (Taalkeuse bly 'n onopgeloste kwessie in Afrikaliteratuur.) Enersyds gee die taal wat hy beheers hom die vryheid om homself te bevestig en die imperiale manier van dink teen te staan, en dit is bevrydend. Andersyds beperk sy taalkeuse hom tot 'n spesifieke gehoor en 'n spesifieke stel literêre kanons. Soms skryf invloedryke hekwagters sekere grense voor en beperk die moontlikhede om daardie grense te oorskry. Andersyds, soos 'n gevallestudie van Sotho-literatuur aantoon, toon 'n letterkunde self sekere generiese en tematiese voorkeure wat die vryheid van literêre ekspressie beperk. Uit die subjektiewe en bevoorregte posisie dat hy self 'n skrywer in Sotho is, maak die outeur ten slotte 'n aantal voorstelle oor hoe hierdie beperkende status quo oorkom kan word.

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/content/literat/27/1/EJC61897
2006-04-01
2016-12-10

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