Academic journal article Literator: Journal of Literary Criticism, comparative linguistics and literary studies

Animals and Nature: Mapping Storylines and Metaphors in David Kramer's narratives/Diere En Natuur: Storievertelling En Metafore in David Kramer Se Narratiewe

Academic journal article Literator: Journal of Literary Criticism, comparative linguistics and literary studies

Animals and Nature: Mapping Storylines and Metaphors in David Kramer's narratives/Diere En Natuur: Storievertelling En Metafore in David Kramer Se Narratiewe

Article excerpt

Abstract

This article discusses the representation of animals and nature in selected lyrics from the oeuvre of singer, songwriter and producer David Kramer and considers his engagement with historical and contemporary discourses about human-animal and human-nature interaction in relation to ecological awareness within a South African context. I trace the socio-political commentary voiced through his depicfion of animals in the folksongs he wrote during apartheid, especially in lyrics from the album "Baboondogs" (Kramer, 1986). Kramer also employs intertextual references to traditional South African folksongs and tales in his music. Furthermore, the social and environmental significance of Kramer's representations of nature in a selection of his postapartheid lyrics is investigated. I argue that the pedagogical value of Kramer's cultural commentary can contribute significantly to the challenge of teaching animal studies and ecocriticism in South African context.

Opsomming

In hierdie artikel word die uitbeelding van diere en die natuur in gekose lirieke uit die oeuvre van liedjieskrywer, sanger en regisseur Devid Kremer ondersoek. Sy gemoeidheid met historiese en kontemporere diskoerse oor mens-dierinteraksie en mens-natuurinteraksie, asook sy ekologiese bewustheid in 'n Suid-Afrikaanse konteks, sal oorweeg word. Kramer se sosiopolitieke kommentaar, met spesifieke verwysing na die dier-en natuuruitbeeldings in sy volksliedjies wat tydens apartheid geskryf is en verel in die album "Baboondogs" (Kramer, 1986) figureer, sal in hierdie analise eangetoon word. Kramer gebruik ook intertekstuele verwysings uit tradisionele Suid-Afrikaense volksliedjies en verhale in sy musiek. Die maatskaplike en omgewingsimplikesies ven Kramer se natuuruitbeeldings in 'n seleksie ven sy postapertheid lirieke sal eweneens ondersoek word. Die gevolgtrekking is dat die pedagogiese waarde ven Kremer se kulturele kommentaar uiteindelik 'n noemenswaardige bydrae kan lewer tot die onderrig van dierestudie en ekokritiek in 'n Suid-Afrikaanse konteks.

1. Introduction

In recent years, a growing consciousness about the global ecological crisis has stimulated dialogue and debate in the media and across academic disciplines, as the lively critical discussions in animal studies and ecocriticism illustrate. The historical and cultural significance of representations of animals and nature (2) in artistic works from the past and the present, has become a source for

reflection on, and analysis of the role artistic productions play, not only in illustrating shifting perspectives on human-nature interaction, but in creating proactive awareness. Slovic (2008:137) argues in Going away to think that

   ... we need literature--or art more generally--to help us use our
   senses more fully and intensely. We need to overcome the
   abstractness of our ecological awareness and learn to five through
   such awareness, to feel our presence in the world.

Slovic (2008:137) defines this state of awareness as "the realm of sensory ecology--an appreciation of our own presence in the physical world and our connections with other beings". This article analyses representations of animals and nature in selected lyrics from the oeuvre of South African singer, songwriter and producer, David Kramer, to illustrate his, at times critical, engagement with historical and contemporary discourses about human-animal and human-nature interactions and ecological awareness in a South African context. In the first part of the article, Kramer's socio-political commentary through his depictions of animals in folksongs written during apartheid is been considered, by focusing on the figures of the baboon and, to a lesser extent, the dog as metaphors or analogies--captured by the title of his one album Baboondogs (Kramer, 1986). Kramer's intertextual use of elements from traditional South African folksongs and tales is central to the argument. …

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