Original Research

Tokkelossie, “’n Boesman, outa Hendrik” en ontkennende close readings

H. Willemse
Literator | Vol 29, No 3 | a125 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v29i3.125 | © 2008 H. Willemse | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 July 2008 | Published: 25 July 2008

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H. Willemse, Departement Afrikaans, Universiteit van Pretoria, South Africa

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Tikoloshe, “a Bushman, outa Hendrik” and denialist close readings
This article explores in two main sections the changing perceptions of Afrikaner folklorists and literary critics on the origins of selected indigenous Southern African oral tales. With the emergence of Afrikaner Nationalism at the end of the nineteenth century, young Afrikaner activists often incorporated indigenous folktales in the development of a nascent Afrikaans literary tradition. Initially, the origins and the authenticity of such written-down versions of performances were rarely in dispute. However, around the mid-twentieth century, a period that coincides with a more confident Afrikaner Nationalism, Afrikaner folklorists came to doubt these original explanations. One prominent scholar in particular advanced views that seemed to favour European influence and structural refinement rather than indigenous origination. The second section ties in with the first in a discussion of the tale, “Klein Riet-alleen-in-die-Roerkuil” from “Dwaalstories en ander vertellings” (1927) by Eugène N. Marais. An intinerant storyteller, Hendrik, originally performed the tale which Marais, immediately following the performance, committed to print. Lately a body of scholarly literature, mostly close readings, came about which diminishes the role of the initial performer in favour of Marais’ writerly aesthetics. The article takes issue with these interpretations and argues for the restoration and recognition of Hendrik’s role as the creator of the initial performances.


Afrikaans Folklore; Cultural Hybridity; Cultural Interaction; Tikoloshe


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