Re-Inventing History. A reading of South African novels of the transition

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Re-Inventing History. A reading of South African novels of the transition

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Publication Conference Paper, other
Title Re-Inventing History. A reading of South African novels of the transition
Author(s) Hemer, Oscar
Date 2008-11
English abstract
History is the great forger of national identity, but literature also played a key-role in its construction, in Europe as well as in the newly independent former colonies of Africa, Asia and the Americas. Many post-colonial writers actively participated in the nation-building process, providing epics for identification and contributing to a national imaginary. In most of Africa, the national projects have failed and given room for disillusion, which may also be artistically productive. But neither happened in South Africa, where national modernization was frustrated in an embryonic stage by the imposition of Apartheid. During the transition process, and especially in the last decade, South African writers have reexamined history in the pursuit of neglected and suppressed configurations. The marginal, yet critical role of literature in the transition seems to be that of deconstructing prevailing myths, rather than the forging of new identities. This paper discusses the presence of history and the near past in recent novels by five South African witers (Zakes Mda, Marlene van Niekerk, Zoë Wicomb, Aziz Hassim and Ronnie Govender), and takes a special interest in the disclosed legacy of creolization.
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) History
Nation-building
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION::History and philosophy subjects
Cultural Studies
Note Paper presented at a conference with the Nordic Research Network on Popular Culture and Comminication in Africa
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/7464 (link to this page)

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