To read South African writing about London is to study the development of South African literature and culture in relation to one of the most important geographical touchstones within the South African imaginary. The texts examined in South African London respond to the apartheid context, displaced to a non-South African location that is a significant site of South African exile and emigration. Travel to London afforded South African writers opportunities to rethink ideas about Englishness, and also forged illuminating engagements with South African subjectivities. South African London uncovers a range of diverse responses by South African writers that provide nuanced perspectives on exile, global racisms and modernity. This book presents unexpected angles on major South African writers, such as Peter Abrahams, Dan Jacobson, Noni Jabavu, Todd Matshikiza, Arthur Nortje, Lauretta Ngcobo, J.M.Coetzee, Justin Cartwright and Ishtiyaq Shukri, across genres from life writing and journalism to novels, short stories and poetry. Since South African London considers the dual locations of London and South Africa alongside each other, it offers a refracted history of postwar London, emphasising the city’s transnational networks and the worldliness of South African letters.
This book analyses black Atlantic studies, colonial discourse analysis and postcolonial theory, providing paradigms for understanding imperial literature, Englishness and black transnationalism. Its concerns range from the metropolitan centre of Conrad's Heart of Darkness to fatherhood in Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk; from the marketing of South African literature to cosmopolitanism in Achebe; and from utopian discourse in Parry to Jameson's theorisation of empire.
Transnational solidarities and fractures in Ishtiyaq Shukri’s The Silent Minaret
longer the key context for understanding identity. Although she suggests that the national ‘remains the fundamental starting point for such wider endeavours’, the ‘post-transitional’ moment moves beyond the supposed South African exceptionalism of the apartheid era and is ‘marked by a proliferating process of scripting connections’ (Samuelson 2010 : 113). Samuelson uses The Silent Minaret as an example of an emerging SouthAfricanliterature, one that ‘takes cognisance of the nation's embedding in the global’ (113). Leon de Kock suggests similarly that, in ‘new
Representations of the body in South African fiction and film
V. Y. Mudimbe
Since 1999 South African writers have written about HIV/AIDS in their work, often avoiding any depiction of the ‘sick’ body, particularly the sick male body in relation to the HIV infection. The trajectory of the representation of HIV/AIDS in SouthAfricanliterature has crept closer and closer towards the personal in the last twelve years. There has also been a parallel movement towards the visual, towards descriptive representations of the body in pain. Silence, invisibility and the absence of the dead are slowly being eroded by narrative
observations about London include autobiography, literary fiction, poetry and journalism. The eclecticism of the texts which I will explore reflects the range of imaginative and narrative approaches that South African writers adopted towards the city of London. My aim is to provide an alternative and transnational history of both SouthAfricanliterature and London by exploring the interface between London and South African authors across a broad timespan. To return to Nortje's metaphor, if London provides the South African writer with new ‘eyes’ with which to see the world
aesthetic values. She and I have a long-standing disagreement over the literary merits of Olive Schreiner’s work, and, more generally, over the aesthetic contributions made by anti-colonial and
post-apartheid SouthAfricanliteratures. Parry’s own taste tends, I think,
towards the modernist, although she has done a great deal, in her work
on Forster and Wells, to extend the canon beyond the modernist monopolies presented by Edward Said and Fredric Jameson. Willing as she is to
credit metropolitan mimetic modes of the Victorian, Edwardian and
modern periods with literary
the peculiarly racialised nature of SouthAfricanliterature evident in works such as H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines (1885). Yet the imperial adventure genre also provided opportunities for the ‘reappropriation of Zulu historiography’ by John Langalibalele Dube in the 1930s as well as providing a framework for Mhudi (1930) by Sol Plaatjie, who ‘adopted the style, and linguistic register’ of Haggard’s imperial romances, but nonetheless ‘adapted it for his own purposes, undermining and challenging many of [the genre’s] tenets’. 102
The ideas of adoption
Hero-worship, imperial masculinities and inter-generational ideologies in H. Rider Haggard’s 1880s fiction
and the Fiction of Empire
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987).
• 249 •
Imagining martial masculinities
11 Stephen Gray, SouthAfricanLiterature: An Introduction (Cape Town:
David Philip, 1979), p. 120.
14 Sequels and prequels include Allan Quatermain (1887), Hunter
Quatermain’s Story (1887), Allan the Hunter: A Tale of Three Lions (1887),
Allan’s Wife (1889), She and Allan (1920), The Ancient Allan (1920) (he
must have been ancient indeed by this point, having retired in 1885) and
Allan and the Ice-gods (1927). See She
in extremity’. Through
this model, Lazarus reads examples of white SouthAfricanliterature to
generate an interpretation of how that work can be
‘oppositional’ regardless of an author’s intention:
it is ‘not this factor of self-consciousness that renders their
work oppositional, but rather the manner in which this work enters into
history – or more precisely, refuses to be encoded seamlessly
the next decade. Sometimes these dates have also been
construed as bolts from the blue, actions that have come from nowhere.
Yet on the contrary, their occasion was impelled by history, by cause,
by preceding events: they are the product of agency and historical
processes. As Michael Green points out in his study of history in SouthAfricanliterature entitled Novel Histories , the taint of