Race relations in two post-apartheid Sesotho farm novels

Mokhele, M. P. (2005-12)

Thesis (MA)--University of Stellenbosch, 2005.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study examines the presentation of race relations in two Sesotho novels written after 1994. The purpose of the study is to establish whether or not post-apartheid Sesotho novels present race relations as they were presented during the apartheid era. The novels of focus are, N.S. Zulu's Nonyana ya Tshepo (The bird of hope) (1997) and T.W.D. Mohapi's Lehfaba fa fephako (The pain of hunger) (1999). The manner in which the authors who wrote during the two distinct eras presented the issue of race and presented race relations will be the focal point. At the end of this study it should be clear whether or not authors after 1994, that is, after the apartheid era continue to present race relations in an idealistic manner. During the apartheid era authors such Lesoro (1968) and Mophethe (1966) were very cautious when presenting race relations in their novels. The common factor in these novels is the portrayal of the white Afrikaner characters by the authors. White characters were portrayed as very merciful, good Samaritans and their relationship with their black counterparts were often harmonious and crisis free. Attributes of race such as racial discrimination, racial hatred, racial conflict and racial intolerance were seldom spoken about in those novels. This is reminiscent of the notorious apartheid laws, which prohibit freedom of press. White characters in some novels published during the apartheid era were not characters derived from real life. In N.S. Zulu's novel, Nonyana ya Tshepo we examine the portrayal of the characters from the two distinct races, black Africans and white Afrikaners. The author portrays the two groups of characters to be what Scholes (1981 :11) calls characters representative of a social class, race and a profession. Black characters are portrayed as the exploited, which are always inferior, submissive and subjected to racial discrimination by their white counterparts. White Afrikaners are portrayed as the exploiters, who are superior, oppressors and the ones who further the policy of apartheid. This state of affairs prompted the black Africans to develop hatred towards the Whites. Instead of idolizing their masters, Blacks do the opposite. Our main character, Tshepo who is said to be fathered by the white Afrikaner, is marginalized by his fellow Blacks and declared an outcast. In T.W.D. Mohapi's novel, Lehlaba la lephako, the main character, Seabata who lusts for power and wealth is seen struggling for both at the expense of his fellow black Africans. Seabata is used by his white boss, Sepanapodi, to maintain the legacy of apartheid. The narrator portrays Seabata in such a way that he could carry out his boss' mission. Seabata is power hungry and always likes to please his boss to attain that, even if that means creating enmity with his own black people. Seabata's socio-economic status makes him vulnerable to manipulation by Sepanapodi. Seabata was advised by his father that he should always strive to please his master in order to gain glory and wealth. He followed the advice slavishly and that left him devastated. He found himself at loggerheads with his colleagues, with the pastor, Nkgelwane, with a local teacher, Mohanelwa and with his wife, Mmabatho. Conflict between Seabata and the community is caused by the pain of hunger.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die doelstelling van hierdie studie is om ondersoek in te stel of die twee Sesotho novelles wat na 1994 geskrywe is, die verhouding tussen verskillende rasse behandel. Die doel van die studie is om uit te vind of die Sesotho novelles wat gedurende die tydperk van apartheid die aanbieding van rasse-verhouding dek, soos wat dit aangewys was gedurende die tydperk van apartheid. Die ondersoek sal gedoen word met die vergelykking van twee novelles wat na 1994 geskrywe is, d.w.s. N.S. Zulu se Nonyana ya Tshepo en T.W.D. Mohapi se Leh/aba /a /ephako . Die manier waarop die twee skrywers wat gedurende die twee afsonderlike tydperk, die kwessie van rasse behandel, en hoe hulle dit aangebied het, sal die fokuspunt wees. Aan die einde van hierdie studie moet dit duideliker word aan die lesers tot watter mate die skrywers wat na 1994 geskryf het, d.w.s na die apartheid tydperk, nog die rasse-verhouding op 'n idealistiese manier aangebied het. Die skrywers wat gedurende die apartheid tydperk geskrywe het, soos Lesoro (1968) en Mophethe (1966) was baie versigtig toe hulle die rasse-verhouding in hulle novelles aangebied het. Die gewone faktor van hierdie novelles is die uitbeelding van die wit Afrikaners se karakters deur die skrywers. Wit karakters is altyd as baie barmhagtig, en as goeie Samaritane beskrywe, en hul verhouding teenoor hulle swart teenhangers is dikwels eensgesind en vry van krisis uitgebeeld. Die hoedanigheid van rasseonderskeiding wat rassehaat, rasse in stryd met mekaar, en rasse onverdraagsaamheid, is in daardie tyd seide van geskryf in die novelle. Dit herinner die leser aan die ongunstige apartheidswette wat nie vryheid van die pers toegelaat het nie. Wit karakters, in sommige novelle wat gedurende die tydperk van apartheid gepubliseer is, is nie karakters wat van die ware lewe afgelei is nie. In N.S. Zulu se novelle, Nonyana ya Tshepo word 'n uitbeelding gemaak van karakters van die twee afsonderlike rasse, die swart Afrikaners en die wit Afrikaners. Die skrywer beeld die twee groepe van karaktes as die wat Scholes (1981 :11) noem die wat verteenwoordigend van 'n sosiale klas, rasse en beroep is. Swart karakters is beskrywe as diegene wat geeksploiteer word, wat altyd as minderwaardige, onderworpe en mindere rasse beskou word. Hulle word gediskrimineer deur hulle wit landgenote. Wit Afrikaners is beskou as die eksploiteerders, wat die voortreflike onderdrukkers is en wat wat die beleid van apartheid laat voortgaan. Hierdie toestand het die swart Afrikaners gelei om haat te ontwikkel teenoor die Wittes. In plaas van om hulle meesters eer te bewys, het die swart Afrikaners die teenoorgestelde gedrag. Die hoofkarakter, Tshepo, wat geglo is dat hy kind van die wit Afrikaner is, is deur sy mense verban en as verworpeling verklaar. In T.W.D. Mohapi se novelle, Lehlaba la lephako het die hoofkarakter, Seabata, begeertes van mag en rykdom. Hy word opgelei as 'n stryder op koste van sy medemense, swart Afrikaners. Seabata is deur sy wit meester, Sepanapodi misbruik om die nalatenskap van apartheid te handhaaf. Die verteller beeld Seabata af op so 'n manier dat dit duidelik is dat Seabata sy baas se opdrag sou voortdra. Hy, Seabata het 'n wens om mag te he en bo alles om sy baas tevrede te stel op koste van ander swart Afrikaners, al maak dit hom 'n vyand van sy mense. Seabata se sosiale status het hom laat kwesbaar ge stel teenoor Sepanapodi se manipulasie. Sy vader het hom advies gegee dat hy altyd sy meester moes bevredig ter wille van glorie en rykdom. Hy het toe die advies van sy vader slaafs nagevolg, daarom het dit hom in 'n neerdrukkende gevoel laat eef. Aan die einde is hy in 'n konflik met andere soos sy kollegas, die plaaslike predikant, Nkgelwane, die onderwyser, Mohanelwa en sy vrou. Die stryd wat Seabata met al die mense in die gemeenskap het, is die oorsaak van hongersnood.

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