• Jane Watts
Part of the St Antony’s/Macmillan Series book series


Black South African literature is no seamless garment with a sustained and continuing literary tradition. It derives from a multiplicity of cultures: the related tribal cultures of the Xhosa, the Zulu, the Tswana, the Tsonga and the Venda have been overlaid by the heavy and alien cultural impact of English and Afrikaans, and touched at various points by Indian, Malay, Portuguese, Italian and East European influences. And from its earliest days it has been subjected to interference ranging from direct missionary intervention and the subtle ideological infiltration of English liberal humanism to the violent overt coercion evident in the Afrikaner Nationalist imposition of Bantu Education, the policy of separate development, the control of the media, the banning of works of literature and the subjection of writers to banning, exile, police harassment, imprisonment and, at times, death. Each generation of writers has had to start afresh with scarcely any access to literary models and in material, political and social circumstances that have changed, generation by generation, for the worse.


Political Movement Literary Tradition Police Harassment Nationalist Government African Writing 
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  1. 4.
    See R. Kavanagh, Theatre and Cultural Struggle in South Africa (London: Zed Books, 1985) p. 33.Google Scholar

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© Jane Watts 1989

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  • Jane Watts

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