Academic journal article Journal of Literary Studies

Fugard and the Recent Afrikaans Translations of His Plays: A Subversive Exercise?

Academic journal article Journal of Literary Studies

Fugard and the Recent Afrikaans Translations of His Plays: A Subversive Exercise?

Article excerpt


This article focuses on the Afrikaans translations of Fugard's plays-- particularly the five plays translated by Idil Sheard and published by Maskew Miller kongman from 2005 to 2009. The discussion is placed within the framework of concepts and insights in current work in the field of translation studies (e.g. Venuti's notion of "homogenizing" and Leung's reference to "an ideological turn in Translation Studies"). The article addresses various questions: What are the implications of Fugard's use of Afrikaans words/phrases/songs in his English plays for the Afrikaans translations of these plays; are Afrikaans translations of these plays necessary and can one assess these translations (and their impact within the Afrikaans- language community) from a broader ideological viewpoint?


Die fokus in hierdie artikel is op die Afrikaanse vertalings van Fugard se dramas--veral die vyf dramas war deur Idil Sheard vertaal en deur Maskew Miller Longman gepubliseer is gedurende 2005 tot 2009. Die bespreking is geplaas binne die raamwerk van resente konsepte en insigte binne die dissipline vertaalstudies (bv. Venuti se idee van "homogenisering" en Leung se verwysing na die "ideologiese keerpunt in vertaalstudies"). Die artikel spreek verskeie vrae aan: Wat is die implikasies van Fugard se gebruik van Afrikaanse woorde/frases/liedjies in sy Engelse dramas vir die Afrikaanse vertalings van hierdie dramas; is dit nodig om hierdie dramas in Afrikaans te vertaal en kan mens hierdie vertalings (asook die impak daarvan binne die Afrikaanse taalgemeenskap) beoordeel vanuit 'n breer ideologiese beskouing?


Although Athol Fugard wrote all his plays in English and is usually described as an English South African playwright, one does find the use of other South African languages--especially Afrikaans--in many of his plays. In an article entitled "Between Languages: Athol Fugard and/in Afrikaans" (2010), I discussed in general Fugard's use of Afrikaans in many of his English plays, focusing on both the socio-political context of this use (i.e. the relationship between Afrikaans and English in South Africa), as well as his own relationship with Afrikaans (e.g. as stated in interviews, as demonstrated by his support for Idil Sheard's Afrikaans translations of his plays, and as shown by his participation in Afrikaans arts festivals, such as the KKNK festival).

In this article I will focus on the Afrikaans translations of his plays, particularly on five of them by Idil Sheard in the period 2005 to 2009. The following aspects should be kept in mind as background for this discussion:

* The fact that Fugard, although seen to be an "English" playwright, often describes himself as a "bastardized Afrikaner" (Vandenbroucke 1986: 15): speaks Afrikaans; and states that he can identify with the Afrikaner (1)

* Even though Fugard is a good speaker of Afrikaans, he does not feel competent enough to write in Afrikaans. (2) He is, however, able to evaluate the Afrikaans translations of his work and has, in fact, expressed a deep satisfaction for the work done by Idil Sheard--even to the extent of thanking her for putting his words in their "rightful language" (Rogers 2006).

* Although some of his work has been translated into Afrikaans before and has been performed in Afrikaans, it is only now that we have a very specific project dedicated to the translation of a substantial number of his plays.

1 The Idil Sheard/Maskew Miller Longman (MML) Project (2005-2009): The Afrikaans Translation of Five of Fugard's Plays

This project started in 2005 when the publishers Maskew Miller Longman published the first Afrikaans translation of My Life & Valley Song by Idil Sheard as Lied van die vallei. According to the publisher, Mariza Steyn, the success of this translation (it received the SATI/Via Afrika Prize for translation in 2006), (3) as well as Fugard's renown convinced them to continue to publish four more translations of his work, namely The Road to Mecca as Met kerslig na Mekka (2006); Master Harold and the Boys as Master Harold en die boys (2008b); Booitjie and the Oubaas as Booitjie en die oubaas (2008b) and Victory as Victoria (2009b). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.