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‘Now strangers walk in that place': Antjie Krog, Modernity, and the Making of //Kabbo's story

D Wylie


Antjie Krog's treatment of testimonies from the Bleek and Lloyd Collection of /Xam (San) testimonies, the stars say ‘tsau', belongs to a stream of such ‘versions', beginning with Laurens van der Post and Eugène Marais and running through to modern poets, including Stephen Watson and Alan James. This article explores the dimensions of the displacements of modernity which have attracted these poets to the /Xam material, especially that of the informant //Kabbo. It argues that a certain commonality (sensations of internal exile informed by post-Darwinian thought as well as local history, and by nostalgia for a partly illusory construction of pre-modern and ecological wholeness) helps explain the attraction. While their ‘versions' remain culturally problematic, tinted with ‘anthropological' and ‘neo-romantic' perspectives, they constitute, I suggest, valid ‘transcultural' recreations,
or co-creations, of continually emerging Southern African modern identities.

Current Writing Vol. 19 (2) 2007: pp. 49-71

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eISSN: 2159-9130
print ISSN: 1013-929X