Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa <p><em><strong>Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa</strong> </em>is published bi-annually by Routledge. <em><strong>Current Writing</strong> </em>focuses on recent writing and re-publication of texts on southern African and (from a 'southern' perspective) commonwealth and/or postcolonial literature and literary-culture. Works of the past and near-past must be assessed and evaluated through the lens of current reception.</p><p>Submissions are double-blind peer-reviewed by at least two referees of international stature in the field. The journal is accredited with the South African Department of Higher Education and Training.</p> Taylor and Francis en-US Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa 1013-929X © Current Writing journal Last Stop “Little Gujarat”: Tracking South African Indian Writers on the Grey Street Writers’ Trail in Durban Grey Street in Durban is tied to the history of the Indian population in South Africa and their construction of a ‘home away from home’. Recently renamed Dr Yusuf Dadoo Street after the prominent anti-apartheid activist, “Grey Street” as it is still known by the locals, is where Indian immigrants to Natal inevitably made their way from the late nineteenth century onwards. Inevitably, too, South African Indian writers descended from these first immigrants have written about the Grey Street area in their works, describing the close community ties that developed amid the Indian-styled buildings their forefathers erected. Writers such as Dr Goonam (Coolie Doctor), Phyllis Naidoo (Footprints in Grey Street), Aziz Hassim (The Lotus People), and Imraan Coovadia (The Wedding ) have reconstructed a complex and contradictory past era – nostalgic, passing, difficult – centred in Grey Street’s busy streets, alleys and markets. Post apartheid this area is not as homogeneous as it once was, but survives as the old business and residential centre for the Indian community in Durban, and indisputably as its cultural heart. The Grey Street Writers’ trail, developed by the KwaZulu-Natal Literary Tourism project, retraces old identities and current pathways through this district looking at places through the writers’ eyes. This paper traces these writerly tracks in Grey Street as assembled in the trail and assesses the fictional reconstruction and shifting identities of this area, once a hotbed of political dissent, especially during apartheid. By way of context, a brief discussion of the phenomenon of the literary trail is offered. <br /><br /> L Stiebel Copyright (c) 22 1 10.4314/cw.v22i1.58893 Mapping a Self, Mapping Absence in Sally-Ann Murray’s <i>Small Moving Parts</i> The essay analyses the figurative mapping in Sally-Ann Murray’s first novel, Small Moving Parts (2009), which is a coming-of-age novel about the young Halley Murphy who grows up in the suburb of Umbilo in Durban in the 1960s. The essay begins by analysing the narrative topography of Durban in the 1960s in terms of J. Hillis Miller’s notion of “topotropography”, with special reference to what Miller calls “atopical” or unplaceable/unmappable places. Against the background of the main Western philosophical conceptions of the self, the essay then analyses the way Halley’s developing sense of herself is mapped in the narrative, and pursues the analogy between, on the one hand, the philosophical problem of a unified and diachronic sense of self that persists despite gaps in consciousness, and, on the other hand, the narrative paradox of a coherent narrative topography of the self being mapped despite zones of absence. Absences, losses and gaps – personal, social, historical and linguistic – are a distinctive feature of the narrative, and it is argued that in Small Moving Parts Murray has shown that the atopical is an inherent part of every life and of every act of figurative mapping. <br /><br /> JU Jacobs Copyright (c) 22 1 10.4314/cw.v22i1.58894 Fashionably Ethnic: Individuality and Heritage in Greig Coetzee’s <i>Happy Natives</i> This essay highlights a shift in South African literature towards ideals of individualism and explores some of the paradoxes inherent in the competing claims of individuality and heritage. The characters created by Greig Coetzee in Happy Natives are examined as examples of identities constructed in terms of tradition, function and indoctrination. The comic potential of these incongruent identity constructions is then elaborated by means of Henri Bergson’s description of the humour arising from an inability to adapt to changing fashions. Ultimately, appeals towards tradition and individuality begin to look like similar proposals. <br /><br /> A Krueger Copyright (c) 22 1 10.4314/cw.v22i1.58897 Fossicking in the House of Love: Apartheid Masculinity in <i>The Folly</i> This paper attempts to analyse a hitherto ignored aspect of Vladislavic’s The Folly, and of Vladislavic’s writing more generally: that of sexuality and gender, masculinity in particular. I argue that Vladislavic’s novella is innovative in its linking of individual subjectivity and psycho-sexuality with the apartheid state and its machineries. In this respect, Vladislavic was prepared to enter regions of the self and psyche and to take the fictional risk of abstract surrealism that few of his contemporaries were, and, I argue, the results were revelatory in their exhumation of buried complexes. In this novel Vladislavic shows that a key mechanism that held the apartheid state together was macho homosociality which soothed the troubled conscience of the white majority via the prosthetic conscience of the leader whose vision led the homosocial pack. Importantly, however, Vladislavic also embodied an alternative to this apartheid identity and its workings in the text.<br /><br /> G Gaylard Copyright (c) 22 1 10.4314/cw.v22i1.58898 In Anticipation of Tomorrow: Globalisation and ‘Transnation’ in Serote’s <i>History is the Home Address</i> In view of the collapse of institutional apartheid, post-liberation South African literature can be appropriately limned as literature of return, going by the preponderance of its engagement with exile in the years of the struggle. I read Mongane Wally Serote’s H<em>istory is the Home Address</em> (2004) against the backdrop of migration, paying attention to the way the poem anticipates what should be the right attitude of those it may affect, especially with respect to the nation-state. I argue that the assumptions of this anticipation are true for South Africa as they are for all other postcolonial African states. While privileging the idea of space and time, my position in this paper benefits significantly from Bill Ashcroft’s concept of “transnation” and the way it makes for the inadequacies of the notion of diaspora and other similarly configured abstractions <br /><br /> SS Olaoluwa Copyright (c) 22 1 10.4314/cw.v22i1.58900 “It was my … hanslam”: <i>Agaat</i> as a Pastoral Evocation of Guilt and (Possibly) Forgiveness Marlene van Niekerk’s Agaat (translated by Michiel Heyns) returns to the genre of the plaasroman and draws on the pastoral tradition and the biblical pastoral in particular. The relationship between the farmer Milla de Wet and her spurned foster daughter, now servant, Agaat Laurier, is reviewed when Milla lies on her death bed. This raises questions about guilt and forgiveness, which are discussed in relation to readings of Ricoeur and Derrida, and the prophet Nathan’s parable to David, the shepherd-king. <br /><br /> M van Vuuren Copyright (c) 22 1 10.4314/cw.v22i1.58901 Media, Mediums and Metaphors: The Modern South African Sangoma in Various Texts During the past fifteen years, sangomas have become a distinctive presence in South African literature. Furthermore, an international focus on indigenous knowledge and a national emphasis on cultural regeneration have made room for sangomas in several public South African spheres. In this paper, the way in which Nicholas Gcaleka, the sangoma who went to find Hintsa’s skull, became both narrator of and character in different narratives within literature, politics and historiography is exploredDuring the past fifteen years, sangomas have become a distinctive presence in South African literature. Furthermore, an international focus on indigenous knowledge and a national emphasis on cultural regeneration have made room for sangomas in several public South African spheres. In this paper, the way in which Nicholas Gcaleka, the sangoma who went to find Hintsa’s skull, became both narrator of and character in different narratives within literature, politics and historiography is explored <br /><br /> G Postel Copyright (c) 22 1 10.4314/cw.v22i1.58904 “Why are we suddenly talking about God?”: A Spiritual Turn in Recent Critical Writing My aim is to consider current debates in the human sciences that – in looking beyond the well-worn ‘trinity’ of race, gender, class – seek to address ‘the spiritual’ as a legitimate category of investigation. (I use this category as a portmanteau term to refer to subjective expressions of belief which are not primarily linked to doctrine or organised forms of religion.) I start by offering an overview of key contributions to these new debates, including cultural theory (Eagleton 2009), critical realism (Bhaskar 2000; Creaven 2010), sociology (Spalek 2008; Martin 2005), theology (Sugirtharajah 2006) and inter-disciplinary approaches (Boyd White 2006). What of literary criticism? Is there a South or a South/ African perspective to the above debates? In the second part of the article, I focus on how postcolonial studies (Ashcroft 2006, 2009; Young 2001; Brown 2009) has entered the ‘God debate’. Has a focus on materiality and a rejection of meta-narratives (including the rejection of the centred subject) done justice to the complexity of people’s lives? Have celebrations of ‘hybridity’ or ‘ambiguity’ enhanced the life quality of de-centred people? Is it not time to revisit the rigid division between the material and the spiritual in postcolonial studies? Finally, and more specifically, I discuss how literary criticism (Wenzel 2009; Mathuray 2009) may refract South/African literary texts through the prism of the spiritual. <br /><br /> I Dimitriu Copyright (c) 22 1 10.4314/cw.v22i1.58906 <i>Bona</i>, Barometer of the Decades The article examines practices of descriptive translation studies (DTS), pertaining particularly to the use of substitution and omission, in articles of a socially sensitive nature in the English and isiZulu texts of the monthly magazine<em> Bona</em>. The argument is that in its cautious approach to political matters<em> Bona</em>, paradoxically, is an accurate barometer of both constraints and opportunities from the apartheid 1950s to today. <br /><br /> T Khuzwayo Copyright (c) 22 1 10.4314/cw.v22i1.58907 “To Petrus”: Coetzee, Krog, Critics Through analysis of recent Coetzee criticism and Krog’s recent creative non-fiction this review-article invokes distinctions between ‘mimetic’ and ‘autotelic’ responses to text/context/reception interactions. If Coetzee is seen by his critics as autotelic (discourse deconstructed from within his work) Krog links imitations of the real to artistic and social commitment. Accordingly, Krog’s interpretation of Petrus’s story (the Petrus of Disgrace) differs from Lurie’s interpretation. Despite this the conclusion is that among contemporary writers of South African interest Coetzee and Krog offer literary criticism its richest rewards <br /><br /> M Chapman Copyright (c) 22 1 10.4314/cw.v22i1.58909 Review: "The Imagination of Freedom" Andrew Foley. 2009. "The Imagination of Freedom."<br />Johannesburg: Wits UP. M Lenta Copyright (c) 22 1 10.4314/cw.v22i1.58910 Review: "Postcolonial Literature: A Reader’s Guide to Essential Criticism" Justin D Edwards. 2008. <em>Postcolonial Literature: A Reader’s Guide to EssentialCriticism.</em> Palgrave Macmillan. 204pp. M Chapman Copyright (c) 22 1 10.4314/cw.v22i1.58913