Apartheid and Beyond: South African Writers and the Politics of Place

Synopsis

Apartheid and Beyond is a major contribution to the study of South African literary culture. It offers elegant readings of Coetzee, Gordimer, Fugard, Tlali, Dike, Magona, and Mda, focusing on the intimate relationship between place, subjectivity, and literary form revealed in their work. It also explores the way apartheid functioned in its day-to-day operations as a geographical system of control, exerting its power through such spatial mechanisms as residential segregation, bantustans, passes, and prisons. Though in the first instance concerned with literary texts, Apartheid and Beyond also meditates on crucial historical processes like colonial occupation, the creation of black townships, migration, forced removals, the emergence of informal settlements, the gradual integration of white cities, and efforts at land reform. Cumulatively, the six essays in this book tell the story of the transformation of apartheid's landscapes of oppression into the more ambiguous landscapes of contemporary South Africa: landscapes of tourism and leisure, of crime and privatized security, of uncontrolled urbanization and persistent poverty. Barnard's methodologically eclectic writing draws on the work of major European and U. S. theorists like Foucault, De Certeau, and Jameson, as well as important African intellectuals like Mbembe, Ramphele, and Ndebele. It also takes literary figures seriously as theorists of space in their own right. Apartheid and Beyond is both an innovative account of an important body of politically-inflected literature and an imaginative reflection on the socio-spatial aspects of the transition from apartheid to democracy.