J U. Jacobs


In 1991, when the issue of Kunapipi on ‘New Art and Literature from South Africa’ appeared, Njabulo S Ndebele’s complaint about the way in which black South African writing, committed to political engagement, had deteriorated into struggle allegory, was already a critical commonplace. South African fiction, Ndebele had said back in the 80s, was ‘the product of an ideology whose analysis of society is based on moral premises’ (23), and its characters consisted essentially of the stereotypical villains and victims of apartheid, impersonal ciphers in a moral debate. Formulaic rather than analytical, such novels had come to reproduce apartheid’s negation of human individuality in a heroic narrative of ‘numbing sensationalism’ (24) and spectacle, requiring nothing beyond recognition. What was needed, Ndebele argued, was the rediscovery of the ordinary and the restoration of the truly human dimension to black South African storytelling.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.