Anti-Apartheid Literature Criticism: Major Authors - Essay

J. M. Coetzee (essay date September 1971)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Coetzee, J. M. “Alex La Guma and the Responsibilities of the South African Writer.” Journal of the New African Literature and the Arts, nos. 9-10 (September 1971): 5-11.

[In the following essay, Coetzee, who in 2003 received the 2003 Nobel Prize in literature, defends Alex La Guma's A Walk in the Night against journalist, playwright, and critic Lewis Nkosi's contention that the fiction of Black South African writers provides an “inadequate imaginative response” to the problems of apartheid. Coetzee argues that La Guma's fiction is not simple journalistic naturalism, but rather a cogent analysis of the political weakness of urban South African society under...

(The entire section is 2654 words.)

Adetokunbo Pearse (essay date 1983)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Pearse, Adetokunbo. “Apartheid and Madness: Bessie Head's A Question of Power.Kunapipi 5, no. 2 (1983): 81-93.

[In the following essay, Pearse offers a psychoanalytic reading of Bessie Head's quasi-autobiographical novel, A Question of Power, arguing that, for Head, the social system of apartheid creates psychological distortions through stigmatization and isolation.]

No work in the corpus of African literature dealing with the theme of madness, for example Achebe's Arrow of God, Kofi Awoonor's This Earth, My Brother, or Ayi Kwei Armah's Fragments, captures the complexity and intensity of the insane mind as does Bessie...

(The entire section is 5487 words.)

Richard Rive and Abraham H. de Vries (interview date October 1989)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: de Vries, Abraham H. “An Interview with Richard Rive.” Current Writing 1, no. 1 (October 1989): 45-55.

[In the following interview, de Vries speaks with anti-apartheid activist and author Richard Rive a few weeks prior to his brutal murder on June 4, 1989. Rive shares his perspective on Black protest writing from the 1950s through the 1980s.]

[de Vries]: Drum of the 1950s and Staffrider in the late '70s seem to symbolise two epochs in black South African life and literature. You've been a witness to both.

[Rive]: Yes, Drum of the '50s was basically a kind of protest writing. I don't like the term. But what it...

(The entire section is 4619 words.)

Jean-Philippe Wade (essay date May 2001)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Wade, Jean-Philippe. “Radical Democracy and Literary Form: Alan Paton's Ah, But Your Land is Beautiful.English in Africa 28, no. 1 (May 2001): 91-103.

[In the following essay, Wade contrasts Alan Paton's first two novels, Cry, the Beloved Country and Too Late the Phalarope, with his last novel, Ah, But Your Land Is Beautiful.]

J. M. Coetzee's critique (1974/1992) of Alan Paton's ‘Jim Comes to Jo'burg’ novel Cry, the Beloved Country (1948) briefly argued that it was a form of “religious tragedy” which, by suggesting that “the dispensation under which man suffers is unshakable” (348), was disablingly “apolitical or...

(The entire section is 5114 words.)

Nahem Yousaf (essay date 2001)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Yousaf, Nahem. “Resistance from Within the Prison of Apartheid: The Stone Country.” In Alex La Guma: Politics and Resistance, pp. 71-89. Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann, 2001.

[In the following essay, Yousaf explores the existential identity of the prisoners in La Guma's The Stone Country, arguing that the apartheid regime invades the most minute aspects of these characters' lives and examining the ways in which they try to resist the restrictions imposed by the apartheid state.]

The action of The Stone Country takes place in a prison. The novel tells the story of colored George Adams, a political agitator, who is arrested along with his...

(The entire section is 8401 words.)