Main Article Content

Dystopian future visions in Afrikaans novels published after 1999: A relationship between past and future

J Barendse


Viljoen identifies an engagement with history and “dystopic views” as separate trends in recent Afrikaans literature. In investigating characteristics of recent Afrikaans dystopian futurist novels it becomes apparent that the past also plays an important role in the visions of the future that is created. The past is an important premise in dystopian literature in general. It can be linked to the protagonist’s search for identity and meaning in the dystopian space. This article explores the relationship between the past and future in Afrikaans dystopian futurist novels published after 1999. Specific reference is made to the following dystopian novels by established Afrikaans writers: Oemkontoe van die nasie (2001) by P. J. Haasbroek, Raka die roman (2005) by Koos Kombuis and Horrelpoot (2006) by Eben Venter. The self-published dystopian novels Die Nege kerse van Magriet (2006) by Barend P. J. Erasmus and Beslissing in die Karoo (2011) by Sebastiaan Biehl, which lie outside the mainstream of Afrikaans literature, are also discussed. These novels by Erasmus and Biehl are written from an extreme right-wing perspective and differ from the more mainstream novels in their portrayal of a future South Africa. In this paper I explore the role of references to South African history in the construction of the future in the Afrikaans dystopian novels published after 1999. I discuss how the Afrikaner characters use the past in their search for identity in a postcolonial and post-apartheid context.

Keywords: Afrikaans literature, dystopia, post-apartheid literature, white male Afrikaans novel characters.