Post-apartheid Literature Criticism: Overviews And General Studies - Essay

André Brink (essay date July 1993)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Brink, André. “Literature as Cultural Opposition.” In Reinventing a Continent: Writing and Politics in South Africa, pp. 185-202. Cambridge, Mass.: Zoland Books, 1998.

[In the following essay, based on a lecture originally delivered in July 1993, Brink comments on the role of writers and literature in opposition to political and social realities in South Africa, both during and after the era of apartheid.]

Within the general framework of this seminar, Literature as a Political Force, I have been invited to focus more specifically on literature as a form of cultural opposition. In other words—and this is an important preliminary caution—politics...

(The entire section is 6267 words.)

André Brink (essay date winter 1996)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Brink, André. “Reinventing a Continent (Revisiting History in the Literature of the New South Africa: A Personal Testimony).” World Literature Today 70, no. 1 (winter 1996): 17-23.

[In the following essay, Brink discusses how fiction plays a vital part in describing and interpreting the past in post-apartheid South Africa.]


“Our continent has just invented another,” wrote Montaigne about the discovery of the New World. At the time, of course, to invent was a synonym for to discover; yet both readings of the word are relevant to a procedure which may well become, increasingly, a preoccupation of the literature...

(The entire section is 6111 words.)

Kelwyn Sole (essay date winter 1996)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Sole, Kelwyn. “Bird Hearts Taking Wing: Trends in Contemporary South African Poetry Written in English.” World Literature Today 70, no. 1 (winter 1996): 25-31.

[In the following essay, Sole presents an overview of South African poetry since the end of apartheid in 1990, noting how contemporary South African poets “attempt to embrace and represent a world in transition.”]

In the half a decade since 1990 a plethora of new South African art has become visible to the outside world, especially in such areas as the fine arts, music, theatre, and film. In recent written literature, however, there is less evidence of a revitalized consciousness seeking to...

(The entire section is 5494 words.)

Sarah Ruden (essay date summer-fall 1998)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Ruden, Sarah. “Thoughts on Mda, Ndebele, and Black South African Writing at the Millennium.” Iowa Review 28, no. 2 (summer-fall 1998): 155-66.

[In the following essay, Ruden explores some of the difficulties faced by black post-apartheid writers in their critical assessments by both Western scholars and past generations of South African authors.]

It is a frequent complaint in South African literary circles that the West is not giving black African literature a chance, because of racial prejudice. Given the adoption of white anti-apartheid writers into the Western canon, the neglect of black writers, both anti—and post-apartheid, is supposed to be a...

(The entire section is 4906 words.)

Margaret Lenta (essay date October 1998)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Lenta, Margaret. “Goodbye Lena, Goodbye Poppie: Post-Apartheid Black Women's Writing.” ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature 29, no. 4 (October 1998): 101-18.

[In the following essay, Lenta describes how the works of black women writers in post-apartheid South Africa have evolved from stories primarily told through an intermediary to stories told by the protagonists themselves.]

“For me, the question ‘Who should speak?’ is less crucial than ‘Who will listen?’” says Gayatri Spivak, in a discussion of the rights of the oppressed to produce literary texts (59). Both questions are crucial for South Africa as a post-Apartheid country,...

(The entire section is 6687 words.)