South African Novelists and the Grand Narrative of Apartheid

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The apartheid policies and practices by means of which South Africa was formerly governed also had an ideological or mythological dimension, which functioned as its justificatory narrative. The process of replacing that narrative which needs to be undertaken in South Africa can make use, among other processes, of the re-presentations of this society by our novelists. This paper sketches something of the complex interplay between fiction, social reality, and moral-political understanding at the hand of six novels. It focuses on depictions of acts and experiences of violation as the signature of the ruthless force and after-effects of the apartheid system. It draws attention to the various, but socially meaningful workings of novelistic discourse in these texts, functioning as they do within a situation requiring profound psychic and social readjustment.


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