Original Research

‘Treppie does not like guests’: Xenia in Marlene van Niekerk’s Triomf

Marius Crous
Literator | Vol 37, No 1 | a1250 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v37i1.1250 | © 2016 Marius Crous | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 October 2015 | Published: 21 July 2016

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Marius Crous, Department of Language and Literature, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa

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This article investigates aspects of xenia or guest relationships – which forms a central aspect of Homer’s Odyssey – in Marlene van Niekerk’s novel Triomf. Hospitality and the lack thereof form the basis of several scenes in the novel. Examples include the visit of the agents canvassing for the National Party before the elections, the Jehovah’s witnesses, the AWB recruiters, as well as Lambert’s interaction with Sonnyboy and Mary. The latter scene in particular corresponds closely to the guidelines for proper hospitality as delineated by Homer.


xenia, Triomf by Marlene van Niekerk, hospitality, Derrida, Kristeva, strangers


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