December 1939 – 5 September 2010
Short obituary at BookSA.
THE LITERATURE Police is an interesting website that accompanies Peter D. McDonald’s book, The Literature Police: Apartheid Censorship and its Cultural Consequences (2009, reviewed by Michael Titlestad at the Times). The site contains all manner of material related to the history of censorship in apartheid South Africa and is worth a visit.
Update: A good review of the book by Shaun de Waal over at the M&G. I’m hoping to get my grubby paws on a review copy.
The Hero of Currie Road: Complete Short Pieces, by Alan Paton (Umuzi, 2008)
[Review originally published in Afrikaans in Rapport, 24 August 2008]
The Hero of Currie Road collects a variety of short pieces by Alan Paton: short stories, biographical pieces and the odd miscellania, all from Debbie Go Home/ Tales from a Troubled Land (1961) and Knocking on the Door (1975). In short, all Paton’s short pieces are now available in one volume. The end pages include brief notes about either a story’s print publication date or when it was read first by Paton, and so the volume is a convenient source for literary historians.
Not having been a fan of Cry, the Beloved Country when I was a university student, and therefore not having read any Paton beyond that, I nevertheless approached the volume with a degree of openness. Youth, after all, can be blind in its passions. Read the rest of this entry »
Many of you may know that Sandile Dikeni, famous and notorious in the late 1980s for his poem ‘Guava juice’, which, apocryphally, spurred on youth to adopt the Molotov cocktail as a ready weapon, was involved in a horrible car accident two years ago. He lost two friends and he himself was in a coma and reportedly had also lost his memory for a period of time.
Well, it seems that Comrade Guava Juice is on the mend, as BookSA today features two clips of him reading two short poems. Here’s one:
And here’s the post about it, including both clips.
Denis Hirson, White Scars: On Reading and Rites of Passage (Johannesburg: Jacana, 2006)
As Hirson mentions in his brief Afterword, White Scars started out as the ‘critical and reflective’ component to a Creative Writing Ph.D. and this partly explains the writerly feel of the book. It is a writer reflecting on other writers, a genre with many excellent practitioners (I think of Joseph Brodsky’s essay on Thomas Hardy’s ‘The Darkling Thrush’, Derek Walcott’s reviews of Lowell, Larkin and others). Hirson’s book falls into this tradition: it is literary, reflective, investigative, curious about himself in the world around him, without losing sight of the world as it is around him. Read the rest of this entry »
SOME AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL reflection on the interplay and tensions between Afrikaans and English, published at LitNet.
Complicities: The Intellectual and Apartheid, Philosophy and Postcoloniality Series. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2002.
Published at H-Net Review.
MARK SANDERS’S Complicities: The Intellectual and Apartheid is a difficult book and it is difficult partly because of its intellectual genealogy. Though developed from what the author calls “incidental remarks in the responses of Jacques Derrida and others” during the mid-1990s debates about complicity, European intellectuals and Nazism, carried out mainly in the New York Review of Books, Sanders’s affiliation to a Derridean form of reading is more than incidental (p. x). I do not mean this in a pejorative sense (as is now de rigueur in contemporary reactions to the work of late-twentieth-century theory). On the contrary, the strengths of Derridean reading come to the fore in this book because it makes difficult or complicates notions of resistance, responsibility, and complicity. Another intellectual affiliation of this book may illuminate this point.