Jim comes from Jo’burg’: Regionalised Identities and Social Comedy in Zakes Mda’s The Heart of Redness

  • W Woodward


This essay argues that Mda deploys epistemological challenges to dualistic thinkingthrough the comic mode in The Heart of Redness, using humour, broadly, for transformatory, postcolonial purposes, and, specifically, for rehabilitating the traditional Xhosa worldview within a historicised setting. The novel narrativises the mutual imbrication of place and identity, but, in the contemporary setting of Qolorha-by-Sea, identities never become artefacts as the representations of racialised identities show. In Mda’s satire of post-1994 South Africa some astringent humour may obtain, although satire is not necessarily humorous. The comedy of romance and the concomitant transformation of identities is fairly gentle, as opposed to the more pointed critique of the intransigence of Believer and Unbeliever identities in their feud.

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