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Title: Op zoek naar Afrika: Over Begging to Be Black van Antjie Krog en andere recent verschenen autobiografische teksten van Afrikaanse auteurs
Authors: Renders, Luc
Keywords: life writing
Antjie Krog
South Africa
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Department of Dutch and South African Studies, Faculty of English
Citation: Werkwinkel vol. 7(1), 2012, pp. 73-95
Abstract: In Afrikaans life writing the most influential factors determining an individual’s life are of a social and political nature. Recently five autobiographical texts by Afrikaans authors have appeared, namely Sonkyker: Afrikaner in die verkeerde eeu (2008) by J.C. Steyn, Reisiger: Die Limietberge oor (2009) by Elsa Joubert, ‘n Vurk in die pad: ‘n Memoir (2009) by André P. Brink, A Veil of Footsteps: Memoir of a Nomadic Fictional Character (2008) by Breyten Breytenbach and Begging to Be Black (2009) by Antjie Krog. They differ substantially in style, content and approach. Steyn, Breytenbach, Joubert, Brink, and Krog tell their own individual stories, which document the close relationship between their lives, their values and literary works. Begging to Be Black by Antjie Krog is the most challenging in its recommendations and the most controversial in its argumentation. One of three main narratives in this patchwork book recounts a murder case in the early nineties into which Krog got unwittingly drawn and about which she published Relaas van ‘n moord (1995). Although Krog’s account of her involvement in the murder case remains basically the same, there are, however, a number of crucial differences. Krog describes the murder case from an altogether different perspective. While in Relaas van ‘n moord she unequivocally states that murder is in all circumstances morally wrong, she now concludes, on the basis of her acceptance of the African ‘interconnectedness-towards-wholeness’ world view, that murder is permissible if it is to the benefit of society. This new interpretation is very problematic and raises a number of fundamental questions. Moreover, the fact that Krog provides a new version of the murder of the Wheetie turns the account of what happened into a product of the writer’s imagination, which also undermines the credibility of the other narrative threads in Begging to Be Black. Begging to Be Black, in spite of its serious shortcomings, clearly demonstrates, along with the four other autobiographical texts, that the identity of Afrikaans authors is largely determined by their commitment to the society in which they have been living.
ISSN: 1896-3307
Appears in Collections:Werkwinkel, 2012, vol. 7(1)

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