Limietberge : die fiksionalisering van die kleingeskiedenisse van enkele vrouefigure van Wellington

Rust, Winnie (2000-12)

Thesis (MA)-- Stellenbosch University, 2000.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The creative component of the thesis deals with Coba, the disillusioned and traumatised wife of a young academic who returns from the Netherlands to her home town, Wellington, where she is confronted with the diary of her grandmother and letters from the local museum. The letters and diary then become an introduction to encounters with different women from the past of her hometown. Recorded in the diary of her grandmother is, amongst other fragments from the past, the remarkable story of the marginalised Martha Solomon(s), a coloured woman of slave descent with little schooling at a mission school in Bovlei, district of Wellington. Through a dramatic sequence of events Martha benefits through her involvement and marriage to a remitted English gentleman, enabling her to eventually donate land for the erection of a schoolbuilding in Wynberg, later known as Battswood College. Writing down and recreating the story of Martha Solomon(s) and her (Martha's) encounter with contemporary women from different social levels, has a salutary effect on Coba. Her home surroundings also contribute to this healing effect. She gains insight and through this manages to cross certain psychological barriers, her "Limit Mountains" - the name of the mountains surrounding Wellington which becomes the main metaphor sustained throughout the story. To date the story of Martha Solomon(s) has remained unexplored in the history of Wellington, and can be regarded as a "little narrative." Parallel to the history of Martha Solomon(s), runs the mainstream history of Wellington of the 1870's, a period in which the first Christian School for Girls was founded by Dr Andrew Murray, Abbie Ferguson and Anna Bliss. To date (2000) the ironic parallel between Abbie Ferguson's dynamic initiatives and Martha's later initiatives in Wynberg to relieve the educational needs of her people, has not been fully explored. By fictionalising and foregrounding the little narrative of Martha Solomon(s), new perspectives on mainstream history are brought to the fore and historic ironies highlighted. The inclusion of letters, fragments from diaries and photo material as part of the text creates a defictionalising illusion. The historic component of the thesis gives, as far as possible, a chronological account of the different versions of the story of Martha and its sources; also of historic events which are fictionalised in Limietberge. Inthe component concerning literary theory an account is given of the meaning of historic trivia in this particular investigation. There is a brief allusion to New Historicism, a view on history which points out the complicated relationship between history and fiction, and the subjectivity of all records of historical events. Certain postmodern techniques are given account of in an otherwise conventional story with a linear sequence of events.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die skeppende komponent van die tesis handeloor Coba, die ontnugterde en getraumatiseerde vrou van 'njong akademikus wat uit Nederland terugkeer na haar tuisdorp, Wellington, waar sy deur die navorsing van haar moeder met die dagboek van haar ouma en ou briewe uit die plaaslike museum gekonfronteer word. Dié briewe en dagboek word die aanknopingspunte vir haar ontmoeting met enkele vrouefigure uit die verlede van haar tuisdorp. Ingeskrewe in die dagboek van haar ouma, is onder andere die merkwaardige verhaal van die gemarginaliseerde Martha Solomons, 'n bruin vrou van slaweherkoms en met geringe skoling aan 'n sendingskool in die Bovlei, distrik Wellington. Die historiese figuur Martha Solomon(s) word deur 'n dramatiese verwikkeling dermate bevoordeel deur haar verbintenis met 'n Engelse edelman wat deur sy familie verwerp is, dat sy in staat is om grond te skenk vir 'n skool wat later ontwikkel in die Battswood Kollege, Wynberg. Die neerskryf en herskepping van dié verhaal van Martha Solomon( s) en van laasgenoemde se ontmoeting met ander vroue uit verskillende sosiale sfere van die tyd, werk mettertyd genesend op Coba in. Hiertoe dra ook die salwende invloed by van haar tuisomgewing. Sy kom tot insig en deurbreek daarmee sekere psigologiese versperrings, haar "Limietberge" - die naam van die berge rondom Wellington wat deurgaans as metafoor gebruik word. Die verhaal van Martha Solomon( s)/Grey het tot dusver min aandag in die geskiedenisoptekening van Wellington gekry, en kan as "kleingeskiedenis"gesien word. Parallel met die kleingeskiedenis van Martha Solomon( s), loop die Victoriaanse hoofstroom-geskiedenis van Wellington van die sewentigerjare van die negentiende eeu; 'n tydperk waarin daar met die eerste Christelike hoërskool vir dogters onder aanvoering van dr.Andrew Murray en die Amerikaners Abbie Ferguson en Anna Bliss begin is. Ingebou in die ondersoek maar nog onontgin, is die ironiese parallelle tussen Abbie se dinamiese inisiatiewe met die uitbou van die Seminarium, en Martha se latere inisiatiewe by die onderwysnood onder haar mense. Deur die kleingeskiedenis van Martha Solomon(s) te fiksionaliseer,word nuwe lig op die hoofstroom geplaas, en historiese ironieë uitgewys. Deur die plasing van briewe, :fragmenteuit dagboeke en fotomateriaal as integrale deel van die teks, word de:fiksionalisering bewerkstellig. Die historiese komponent van die tesis gee sover moontlik chronologies verslag van alle weergawes van die Martha-verhaaJ en sy bronne, asook van historiese gebeure uit die Wellingtongeskiedenis wat in Limietberge gefiksionaliseer is. In die literêr-teoretiese komponent word verslag gegee van die betekenis van die kleingeskiedenis- optekening van die ondersoek, en van die Nuwe Historisisme - 'n siening omtrent geskiedenis wat onder andere die ingewikkelde verhouding tussen geskiedenis en fiksie, asook die subjektiewe aard van geskiedenis-optekening uitwys. Sekere postmoderne tegnieke word in dié afdeling ook uitgewys en verantwoord.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/51818
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