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Academic Paper


Title: Translation and South African English Literature: van Niekerk and Heyns' Agaat
Author: Lobke Minter
Linguistic Field: Ling & Literature
Abstract: English is in many ways the language that is assumed to be the giant in the South African literary field. The mere mention of South African literature has a different nuance to, let's say, African literature, since African literature has a vast array of national, colonial and post-colonial contexts, whereas South African literature is focused on one nation and one historical context. This difference in context is important when evaluating the use of English in South African Literature. In many ways, the South African literary field has grown, not only in number of contributors, and the diversity represented there, but also in genre or style. South African literature is becoming more fluid, more energetic, and more democratic in all the ways that the word implies. Writers like Lauren Beukes and Lily Herne are writing science fiction worlds where Cape Town is controlled by autocratic fascists or zombie wastelands that stretch from Table Mountain to Ratanga Junction; Deon Meyer writes crime thrillers, and Renesh Lakhan plumbs the depths of what it means to be South African after democracy. In many ways, the entire field of literature has changed in South Africa in the last twenty or so years. But one aspect has remained the same: the expectation, that while anyone who has anything to say at all, creatively, politically or otherwise, can by all means write it in their mother tongue, if the author wants to be read by more than a very specific fraction of society, then they need to embark on the perilous journey that is translation, and above all, translation into English.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in English Today Vol. 29, Issue 1, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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