“History Speaking”: Sexual Violence and Post-Apartheid Narratives

Lucy Valerie Graham

in State of Peril

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199796373
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933327 | DOI:
“History Speaking”: Sexual Violence and Post-Apartheid Narratives

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Chapter Five scrutinises the relevant literature of the post-apartheid transition and beyond - a context where gender rights are entrenched in law, but where sexual violence remains a persistent hangover from a violent, racially divided and patriarchal past. Starting with an analysis of J. M. Coetzee’s famous novel, Disgrace, I demonstrate the ways in which this text brings disturbingly into focus a history of representation in which rape and issues of race are dangerously enmeshed. The chapter also examines the theme of unspeakable violation in Achmat Dangor’s Bitter Fruit and Zoe Wicomb’s David’s Story, both of which engage with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The chapter also considers the ways in the works of Mark Behr and K. Sello Duiker challenge the myths that rape only happens to women and that male rape is homosexual. The chapter concludes with discussion of Lara Foot-Newton’s drama about the horrific rape of a baby, Tshepang.

Keywords: Apartheid; transition; truth; reconciliation; rape

Chapter.  30200 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literature

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