“A Sense of an Absent Future” Pervading Post-apartheid South African Literature:Re-conceptualisations of Temporality in André Brink’s Transitional Writings

Paulina Grzęda


Numerous commentators have recently indicated a prevailing sense among South Africans of a historical repetition, a pervasive sentiment that the country has failed to shake off the legacy of apartheid, which extends into the present, and possibly also the future. 1 Such an observation has led South African psychologist, Derek Hook, to conclude that in order to adequately address the post-apartheid reality and allow the process of working through trauma, there is a need to abandon the linear Judeo-Christian model of time derived from the Enlightenment. Instead, Hook advocates to start thinking of post-apartheid South Africa not as a socio-economically or racially stratified society, but rather as a country of unsynchronized, split, often overlapping temporalities. Thus, he offers to perceive of ‘chaffing temporalities’ of the contemporary predicament. Resende and Thies, on the other hand, call for a need for a reconceptualised approach to temporality not only when dealing with heavily traumatized postcolonial countries such as South Africa, but more generally when addressing the geopolitics of all the countries of the so-called ‘Global South.’ My paper will discuss the manner in which reconceptualised postcolonial temporality has been addressed by South African transitional writings by André Brink. I will argue that, although Brink’s magical realist novels of the 1990s imaginatively engage with ‘the chaffing temporalities’ of the post-apartheid predicament, their refusal to project any viable visions of the country’s future might ultimately problematise the thorough embrace of Hook’s ‘ethics of temporality.’
Author Paulina Grzęda (Wydział Nauk Humanistycznych i Społecznych w Warszawie)
Paulina Grzęda,,
- Wydział Nauk Humanistycznych i Społecznych w Warszawie
Journal seriesWerkwinkel: Journal of Low Countries and South African Studies / Werkwinkel: Tijdschrift voor Nederlandse en Zuid-Afrikaanse Studies / Werkwinkel: Tydskrif vir Nederlandse en Suid-Afrikaanse Studies, [Werkwinkel: Journal of Low Countries and South African Studies / Werkwinkel: Tijdschrift voor Nederlandse en Zuid-Afrikaanse Studies / Werkwinkel: Tydskrif], ISSN 1896-3307, (N/A 20 pkt)
Issue year2019
Publication size in sheets0.8
Keywords in English‘chaffing temporalities’; ethics of temporality; re-conceptualisations of time; post-apartheid literature; André Brink
Languageen angielski
A sense of an Absent Future_Werwinkel_Paulina Grzęda-1.pdf 383.25 KB
Additional file
osw_A Sense of an Absent.pdf 44.71 KB
Score (nominal)20
Score sourcejournalList
Citation count*
Share Share

Get link to the record

* presented citation count is obtained through Internet information analysis and it is close to the number calculated by the Publish or Perish system.
Are you sure?