Interracial rape and the appropriation of the 'White mask': a psychoanalytical reading of Lewis Nkosi's Mating birds

Fortuin, Bernard Nolen (2009-03)

Thesis (MA (English))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.


This thesis argues that Ndi Sibiya, fictional writer and protagonist of the novel, Mating Birds by Lewis Nkosi develops a pathological obsession with Veronica Slater, a white woman for whose rape Sibiya is about to be executed. One of the many theorists that have commented on the effects of race on sexuality, particularly in colonized black people is Frantz Fanon. In Black Skin White Masks Fanon asks a question based on Freud’s question, “What does a woman want?” Fanon’s question is different in that he asks, what do black people want, which opens the way for a post-colonial psychoanalytical analysis of Ndi Sibiya. What he is concerned with in Black Skin White Masks is a post-colonial psycho-analytical evaluation of the state of being black in colonial societies. Nkosi does the same in his novel, whereas he deals with Apartheid South Africa as an extension of colonialism. Nkosi and Fanon are both addressing the broader psychological impact racially oppressive societies have on the black person’s psyche. Fanon in his psychoanalytical study of the black man from within the Freudian framework aims to save the man of colour from himself (9) by giving black people a warning that is not much different from the warning Sibiya’s father gives to him: do not lust after the white man’s woman.

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