Selfrepresentasie, selfkonstruksie en identiteitsvorming in enkele Suid-Afrikaanse outobiografiese tekste

Moon, Jihie (2009-03)

Thesis (DLitt (Afrikaans and Dutch))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.


Prior to 1990, autobiographical texts have received little attention within the cadre of South African literary science, because they, by tradition, have not been regarded as part of “high” literature or of the canon. In spite of this, autobiography has been claiming an increasingly important position in literary studies in postapartheid South Africa. This study focuses on the hybrid forms of South African autobiographical texts published since 1990 and on the manner in which the autobiographical self is represented and constructed in these texts. The following autobiographical texts are discussed in the study: Breyten Breytenbach‟s Return to Paradise and Dog Heart, Hennie Aucamp‟s triptych of diaries, Gekaapte Tyd, Allersiele and Skuinslig, Rian Malan‟s My Traitor‟s Heart, Antjie Krog‟s Country of My Skull and ‟n Ander Tongval, Abraham Phillips‟s Die Verdwaalde Land, and A.H.M. Scholtz‟s Vatmaar. Their self-referential texts are analysed on the basis of theoretical consideration of different autobiographical forms, such as travel writing, the diary, essay, memoire, testimonio, autoethnography and the autobiographical novel. The studied autobiographical texts resist categorisation under a single genre and thereby demonstrate their generic hybridity. These heterogeneous and hybrid autobiographical forms reflect the inner struggle of the autobiographers in their continuous search for an appropriate form of self-representation in the new South Africa. Through the self-representation of the South African autobiographers, the re-confirmation of their ethnic and cultural identities gives form to a strategic positioning of their own collective identity and a future agency for rehabilitating the collective self within the new South African community. They are seen to be manifesting their cultural identity on the one hand, while attempting to position this identity within the multicultural South African society on the other. The study presents the hybridity of identities, as well as of the genre, which characterises contemporary South African autobiographical writing as a measure of the dynamic process of change (at political, sociocultural and personal levels) in postapartheid South Africa.

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