Poetry as an element of the apartheid military discourse

  • A van der Bijl


From the 1970s to the early 1990s, „struggle poetry‟ served to define elements of the struggle against apartheid. In contrast to struggle literature, which was open and clearly focussed, pro-apartheid literature was not produced in abundance and, when it appeared, was shrouded in social discourse, including historical analysis, terminology, the articulation of specific viewpoints, humour and a sense of duty. One of the longest-lasting windows into apartheid military propaganda was Peter Badcock‟s Images of war (1981), a compilation of pencil sketches and short poetic works that used simple blank verse and images of racial diversity, romance and implied tradition.2 This article presents a discourse analysis of the above-mentioned publication, using both Foucault-infused thoughts3 and a critical discourse analysis methodology developed by Fairclough.4 It provides insight into how the apparatus of a state can gain popular support for sociologically unacceptable practices. Understanding the latter contributes to an understanding of power relations and ideological processes that underlie text and rhetoric.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2224-0020
print ISSN: 1022-8136