Van plaas tot agterplaas : die uitbeelding van Afrikaners in Johannesburg in drie Hertzogpryswenners, en, 'n Duisend stories oor Johannesburg : 'n stadsroman

Kalmer, Harold (2013-12)

Thesis (MA)-- Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die eerste gedeelte van hierdie tesis is ʼn opstel met die titel Van plaas tot agterplaas: Die uitbeelding van Afrikaners in Johannesburg in drie Hertzogpryswenners en die tweede deel is ʼn roman getiteld ʼn Duisend stories oor Johannesburg. Die roman en die opstel hou tematies met mekaar verband. Soos die roman, speel al drie bekroonde werke in Johannesburg af met Afrikaners as sentrale karakters. Die bepaalde historiese konteks waarin elkeen van die drie pryswenners verskyn het, dikteer die invalshoek van die opstel, hoe die werk krities ontvang is, sowel as die rol en waarde wat deur die Afrikaner-instelling daaraan toegeken is. Daar sal verder in die bespreking getoon word watter rol die Hertzogprys in die skepping van die Afrikaner-instelling gespeel het. Die gebruik van die begrip en eienaam “Afrikaner” in hierdie bespreking verwys na die wit, Afrikaanssprekende, Christelike gemeenskap in Suid-Afrika, in die sin dat dit ooreenstem met die (uiters aanvegbare) stelling dat alle wit Afrikaanssprekers saamgevoeg kan word in ʼn organiese “volkseenheid”. Hierdie voorveronderstelling aanvaar ook dat hierdie “Afrikanerdom” tradisionele, konserwatiewe volkswaardes deel, en altyd beskikbaar is vir mobilisering ter wille van gedeelde Afrikaner-belange, soos deur Dan O‟Meara gedefinieer in sy Volkskapitalisme: Class, capital and ideology in the development of Afrikaner nationalism, 1934 – 1948 (1983:6). Hierdie kwessies word, onder meer, deur die polisisteemteorie van die Israeliese kultuurnavorser, Itamar Even-Zohar, asook J.B. Thompson se kritiese teorie van ideologie gedoen. Daar word ook na Jacques Rancière se teorie oor “die verspreiding van die waarneembare” (the distribution of the sensible) verwys. Daar word tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat die Hertzogprys van meet af aan in diens van die Afrikaner-instelling gestaan het en ten spyte van ʼn veranderende ideologiese landskap, ʼn voortgesette rol gespeel het in die daarstelling van die Afrikaner-repertoire. Binne die polisisteemteorie is die “repertoire” die versameling reëls en elemente wat die produksie van tekste bepaal. Die term “instelling” verwys na die faktore wat betrokke is by die instandhouding van die letterkunde as ʼn sosio-kulturele aktiwiteit. Die roman speel af in ʼn klein Johannesburgse hotelletjie, genaamd Mei Villa, in die buurt Belgravia, tydens ʼn uitbarsting van xenofobiese geweld in 2008. Binne ʼn raamverhaalstruktuur fokus die roman op twee karakters, naamlik die ontheemde argitek, Zweig van Niekerk, wat na 40 jaar na Johannesburg terugkeer, asook die hoteleienaar, die bekroonde maar mindere digter, Bosman Hiemstra. Omring deur hotelgaste en personeel met hulle uiteenlopende verhale, soek Zweig van Niekerk tevergeefs na die Johannesburg van sy jeug, terwyl Bosman Hiemstra met ewe min sukses ʼn tweede digbundel probeer skryf. Aan die einde van die boek begin die digter ʼn roman te skryf met sy gas se lewensverhaal as gegewe dalk ook die boek wat die leser pas klaar gelees het.

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The first part of this thesis is an essay titled Van plaas tot agterplaas: Die uitbeelding van Afrikaners in Johannesburg in drie Hertzogpryswenners (From farm yard to back yard: The depiction of Afrikaners in Johannesburg in three Hertzog Prize winners) and the second part is a novel called ʼn Duisend stories oor Johannesburg (A thousand tales of Johannesburg). The novel and the essay are thematically linked. Like the novel, the three Hertzog Prize winners takes place in Johannesburg with Afrikaners as central characters. The point of departure of the essay is the historical context in which the three literary works were published, the critical reception thereof and what role and value was attributed to it by the Afrikaner institution. The role played by the Hertzog Prize in the creation of the Afrikaner institution will also be discussed. The term “Afrikaner” in this discussion refers to the white Afrikaans-speaking, Christian community in South Africa, in the sense that it correlates with the (highly debatable) contention that all white Afrikaans-speakers can be combined in an organic “volkseenheid”. This use of the term assumes that “Afrikanerdom” also shares traditional, conservative national values, and is always available for mobilisation in service of shared Afrikaner interests, as defined by Dan O'Meara in his Volkskapitalisme: Class, capital and ideology in the development of Afrikaner nationalism, 1934 – 1948 (1983:6). To examine these issues, the polysystem theory of the Israeli cultural researcher, Itamar Even-Zohar, as well as J.B. Thompson's critical theory of ideology, will be used. Reference is also made to Jacques Rancière's theory around “the distribution of the sensible”. The conclusion is reached that despite a continuously changing ideological landscape, the Hertzog Prize served the interests of the Afrikaner institution from the very start and played an ongoing role in the Afrikaner repertoire. Within the polysystem theory the “repertoire” is the aggregate of rules and elements which determine the production of texts. The term “institution” refers to the factors involved in the maintenance of literature as a socio-cultural activity. The novel is set in a small hotel, Mei Villa, in the Belgravia neighbourhood in Johannesburg during an outbreak of xenophobic violence in 2008. Within the story structure it focuses on two characters, the displaced architect, Zweig van Niekerk, who returns to Johannesburg after 40 years, and the hotel owner and award-winning, but lesser poet, Bosman Hiemstra. Surrounded by other hotel guests and staff with their own stories, Zweig van Niekerk searches in vain for the Johannesburg of his youth, while Bosman Hiemstra attempts with equal lack of success, to write a second book of poetry. At the end of the book the poet starts to write a novel using his guest's life as material; that could be the book that the reader has just completed.

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