Academic journal article African Studies Quarterly

Anthea Garman. 2015. Antjie Krog and the Post-Apartheid Public Sphere: Speaking Poetry to Power

Academic journal article African Studies Quarterly

Anthea Garman. 2015. Antjie Krog and the Post-Apartheid Public Sphere: Speaking Poetry to Power

Article excerpt

Anthea Garman. 2015. Antjie Krog and the Post-Apartheid Public Sphere: Speaking Poetry to Power. Pietermaritzburg: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press. 224 pp.

In the early years of South African democracy the African National Congress (ANC) understood the importance of a vibrant and inclusive public sphere where the diverse opinions of the people could be heard. At the present there is much socio-political unrest and the function of the public sphere is keenly felt. Anthea Garman's timely monograph, developing from her interest in media and citizenship, examines the construction of the South African post-apartheid public sphere through a prominent intellectual--Antjie Krog.

An associate professor in the school of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University, Garman argues convincingly that the genesis and trajectory of Krog's career as poet, political activist, journalist, translator, and writer provides insight into how the public sphere in South Africa is constructed and contested. Garman uses Krog as a "proxy or 'trope'" (p. xiv) for someone who embodies the potential of democracy and the promise of the public sphere. This focalization inhibits the critical analysis of the public sphere. However, the strength of Garman's study is the bifurcated investigation of Krog's poetic subjectivity and her accumulation of capital across literary, journalistic, and political fields. Garman uses Pierre Bourdieu's field theory in service of her shrewd and thorough investigation of Krog's accumulation of field capital. This is all done, Garman asserts, "in order to unpick how the platform to speak in public is created and crafted" (p. 3).

Carolyn Hamilton's description of the South African public and her emphasis on "active public citizenship" (p. 5) informs Garman's assessment of Krog as an intellectual deeply invested in the health of public conversation in South Africa. Chapter one describes the construction of this public sphere, and chapter two offers a short biography and resume of Krog's achievements and awards. Chapter three details Krog's emergence onto the literary scene, when at the age of seventeen her anti-racist poem "My Mooi Land" was published in the school newspaper to much local and national furor. With the groundwork laid in the early stages of the book, chapter four engages with the shifting and ambiguous subjectivity performed in Krog's poetry and how her teaching in Kroonstad led to her further involvement with the ANC in exile. …

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

Oops!

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.