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Flashes of risibility in PT Mtuze’s autobiography Indlel’ebhek’enkundleni
This article examines PT Mtuze’s autobiography Indlel’ebhek’enkundleni (1976) to highlight the typical humorous necdotes commonly found in an oppressed society. The objects of ridicule in this work are the South African apartheid government of the time, those who embraced those policies as well as societal villains. What makes it more fascinating is the style of presentation which is ingeniously flavoured by what may seem to be self-ridicule and self-mockery. The modes used here, namely conscious humorous modes and humour of expression, surprise and brevity, reveal the intensity of the autobiographer’s expression of anger and desperation at unbearable and despicable experiences. The unique flavour of amaXhosa humour is examined. Such humour includes, among other things, its ability to allow Africans to cope with the most important aspects of their social structure in spite of unbearable problems. A striking finding is that this humour becomes the source of strength and pleasure amid those unbearable problems. Consequently, a new approach called socio-rhetorical criticism has been used as a theoretical framework.