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Translating cultural transition in Kgebetli Moele’s "Room 207"

Ibinga, S. S. (2010-07)

Please cite as follows:

Ibinga, S. S. 2010. Translating cultural transition in Kgebetli Moele’s Room 207. Literator, 31(1):57-76, doi:10.4102/lit.v31i1.37.

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This article deals with the issue of cultural translation in a postapartheid text through the analysis of language, setting and discourse to highlight cultural transition in a society where socio-political mutations elicit new literary codes and symbols. The discussion is developed around concepts such as gender and ethnic identity or citizenship in a geographical environment where multi- and transcultural identities are endlessly being contested. The concept of translation is explored to show how Moele’s text represents cultural transition within a postapartheid urban context by analysing the authorial transposition of everyday experience into the textual fabric. The article also examines how the narrative voice negotiates across the current multicultural divide in order to highlight cultural change both in South African literature and in society as a whole. This article addresses in the discussion the controversial debate raised by Michael Titlestad’s (2007) review of the book published in the “Sunday times” on 25 March in which the critic evinces a negative reception of the book. This is used as a point of departure in order to explore a wide range of possibilities that fiction can offer by means of textual representation of the daily experience of black people in a postapartheid urban context.

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