Literature as social barometer in post-apartheid South Africa: reading contemprorary 'White Writing'



Publication Details

Simoes da Silva, A. J. 2010, 'Literature as social barometer in post-apartheid South Africe: reading contemprorary 'White Writing'', in H. Yeatman (eds), The SInet 2010 eBook (Proceedings of The SInet 2009 Conference), Social Innovation Network (SInet), University of Wollongong, Wollongong, pp. 83-93.


Contemporary South African literature shows a renewed concern with the close bonds between land, place and people in the New South Africa. In the post-apartheid period, this is literature that reflects a close awareness of the need for an art that retains both a sense of creative integrity and the ethical and political demands of the narrative of the new, postapartheid nation. Often history is invoked not as the deterministic frame that regulates each character’s lives typical of so much of the country’s literature, but as the accumulated mesh of individual experiences encompassed by the historical narrative. More to the point, this is writing of great aesthetic energy and political relevance, strengthened by an urgent need to justify its own relevance and a desire to contribute to the healing of a nation that remains in many ways deeply wounded.