Original Research

National trauma work and the depiction of women in two Afrikaans historical Karoo novels: Fiela’s child and Sorg

Belinda Du Plooy
Literator | Vol 35, No 1 | a1010 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v35i1.1010 | © 2014 Belinda Du Plooy | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 May 2013 | Published: 11 February 2014

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Belinda Du Plooy, Research Capacity Development, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa

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Fiela’s child and Sorg are two female-authored popular Afrikaans novels that entertain as subtext dynamics of female agency in the same region and historical period, namely the Little Karoo of the late 19th century. The two novels present a pertinent counter-discursive paradigm to the more mainstream master narrative representations of women of the time. The novels were written and published during the late-apartheid and early post-apartheid years, 1985 and 2006, respectively, and as a result of these dynamics of production, they also engage with the socio-politics of this time, maybe even more so than with the British imperial colonialist period in which the novels are set. As such, both novels step into the discursive streams that flow in and around the trauma work that is associated with South Africa’s contemporary engagement with its colonial and apartheid legacies and heritage. Both texts also contribute to the creation and popularisation of new national master narratives. It is then in this context that these texts can be seen as participating in the multivocal discursive project of new identity construction, specifically identity construction through the writing of a new heterogeneous national autobiography.


marginalization; female identity; trauma; national autobiography; Eastern Cape South Africa; Karoo


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