Die reise van Isobelle (1995) van Elsa Joubert : reise deur 'n eeu Suider-Afrikaanse geskiedenis

Smith, Mathilda C. (Mathilda Cecilia) (1998-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 1998.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Elsa Joubert initially acquired her reputation for her travel writing which is mainly about Africa during the fifties. In her texts she not only focusses on the curiosities and visually attractive sites of the countries she tours, but also conveys her extensive knowledge of the history and her special interest in the intimate human aspects of the people. Ons wag op die kaptein (1963) established her name as startling novelist of Southern-African themes. Missionaris (1988) and Die reise van Isobelle (1995) are based on identifiable SouthernAfrican historical information and subtly place historiography under scrutiny. In these texts Joubert thematizes and problematizes historiography, which she finds lacking in its ability to convey a true representation of events. Photo's, recorded visions or other images of an experience of reality still only remain representations of that "reality". Through the process of fictionalization (as in a novel) "a truth" comes to the light, but at the same time the one-sided and relative nature of canonised history is exposed. Through this critical glance at the status quo and canonised white history, which originated under the pressure of anti-colonialism, Joubert has sided with writers such as Jan Rabie and Andre P. Brink in their opposition to Apartheid and desire to contribute toward the constitution of a new South-Africa. In Die reise van Isobel/e Joubert comments, through the use of characters in a family cronicle, on the manner in which people are affected and shaped by their context. The author, through the use of Leonora as sceptical narrator, focalisator and manipulator, ironises for example the steadfast convictions of the patriotic Josias and Agnes, and thereby confers a critical view of politicalideological problems. The romance between Belle, as group bound Afrikaner girl, and the interesting foreign Indian Hussein Badir, which ends in his death, illustrates the discord when racist prejudice clashes with personal experience. Leo serves as a model of freedom and hope which coincides with detachment from conventional political convictions. Different kinds of journeys can be identified in coherence with the characters, e.g. physical, literal journeys, religious journeys and political journeys. The family chronicle eventually becomes an example of Afrikaner society's emancipation or journey from a patriarchal to a free independent way oflife.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Elsa Joubert het aanvanklik bekendheid verwerf vir haar reisverhale oor veral Afrika uit die vyftigetjare. Sy is in die tekste nie slegs toeristies ingestel op die wetens- en besienswaardighede van die Iande wat sy besoek nie, maar toon, naas 'n omvattende kennis van die geskiedenis, ook aandag vir die intiem menslike doen en late. Ons wag op die kaptein (1963) het haar naam gevestig as opspraakwekkende romanskrywer oor Suider-Afrikaanse temas. Ook Missionaris (1988) en Die reise van Isobelle (1995) is op herkenbare gegewens gebaseer en plaas geskiedskrywing op 'n subtiele manier in die soeklig. In hierdie tekste tematiseer en problematiseer Joubert die geskiedskrywing, wat volgens haar tekortskiet om 'n oortuigende beeld te gee. Foto's, opgetekende visioene of andersoortige weergawes van 'n werklikheidsbelewing bly steeds representasies. Deur die_ proses van fiksionalisering (soos in 'n roman) kom minstens "'n waarheid" aan die lig, maar dit bevestig terselfdertyd die eensydige en relatiewe aard van die gekanoniseerde geskiedenis. Deur hierdie kritiese blik op die status quo en die gekanoniseerde wit geskiedenis, wat onder andere weens die druk van die anti-kolonialisme ontstaan bet, sluit Joubert haar aan by skrywers soos Jan Rabie en Andre P Brink se opposisie teen Apartheid en versugting om by te dra tot die totstandkoming van 'n miwe Suid-Afrika. In Die reise van lsobelle lewer Joubert, deur die gebruik van karakters in 'n familiegeskiedenis, kommentaar oor die wyse waarop mense geraak en gevorm word deur bulle konteks. Die skryfster ironiseer deur die gebruik van Leonora as skeptiese verteller, fokalisator en manipuleerder, byvoorbeeld die vaste oortuigings van die patriotiese Josias en Agnes en gee sodoende 'n kritiese blik op polities-ideologiese vraagstukke. Die liefdesverhouding tussen Belle as groepsgebonde Afrikanermeisie en die vir haar interessant-vreemde Indiese Hussein Badir wat op sy dood uitloop, illustreer die tweespalt wanneer rassistiese vooroordele bots met eie ervaring. Leo dien as voorbeeld van vryheid en hoop wat gepaardgaan met die losbreek uit konvensionele politieke oortuigings. Verskillende soorte reise kan in samehang met die · karakters onderskei word, naamlik fisiese, letterlike reise, geestelik-godsdienstige reise en politieke reise. Hierdie familiegeskiedenis word uiteindelik eksemplaries van die Afrikanersamelewitig se emansipasie of reis van 'n patriargale tot 'n vrye, onafhanklike tipe leefwyse.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/55863
This item appears in the following collections: