Text and reception in southern africa
South African Literature Today
Edited by Michael Chapman and Margaret Lenta
Current Writing in 2009 ‘comes of age’: 21 years. The two 2009 issues, published in a single volume, Current Writing 21(1&2), focus on the word ‘current’. Instead of post-apartheid South Africa as ‘1990s onwards’, we wish to cut off the 1990s with Coetzee’s Disgrace.
Why Disgrace as a marker? Journal articles and reviews since 1990 suggest almost an obsession with Coetzee, particularly with Disgrace; second, many references to the TRC; third, many articles reliant on “according to Foucault, Derrida, Lacan, Bhabha, Levinas”. Post-Disgrace, then, is a convenient spur to a mental/critical/aesthetic shift.
What are the literary concerns post-TRC? Where is Krog? Whither Gordimer? Big names aside, the last few years have seen a flurry of literary activity: new works by established writers (eg, Vladislavić, Portrait with Keys); new voices (eg, Indian writers in South Africa); new life stories (eg, Khumalo, Touch My Blood); the young voices of a ‘born free’ generation); the ‘post-apartheid’ African-language literary scene.
Does Leon de Kock (English in Africa 32(2) 2005) make a telling point: “the academy is once again several years behind the literary industry game”?