Original Research

Riviere as identiteitskonstrueerders

S. Meyer
Literator | Vol 27, No 3 | a201 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v27i3.201 | © 2006 S. Meyer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 July 2006 | Published: 30 July 2006

About the author(s)

S. Meyer, Vakgroep: Afrikaans, Fakulteit Opvoedingswetenskappe, Potchefstroomkampus, Noordwes-Universiteit, South Africa

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Rivers and the construction of identity

The collection of youth memories “Met ’n eie siekspens” (Engela van Rooyen) and the novel “Manaka: plek van die horings” (Pieter Pieterse) complement each other as literary embodiments of the phenomenon that human life and identity are influenced by an aspect of the characters’ natural environment, namely the river. This article focuses on the nature and extent of the influence of rivers on the development of identity in characters in these two works. In “Met ’n eie siekspens” the formative role of the Orange River is connected with a complex relationship between man and river in which elements of devotion collide with those of enslavement. The values taught by the river and its surroundings are core components of the characters’ identities. In “Manaka: plek van die horings”, the main character’s dream of a life on the Zambezi is part of his identity, in that it embodies selfrealisation and has directed his thinking and self-image since childhood. The river and its surroundings, however, later on also play an important role in the re-interpretation of his life goal and the acquisition of a wider understanding of his true identity. This investigation underlines the importance of research into the portrayal of the relationship between man and nature within the broader field of study in which the portrayal of matters of identity in Afrikaans literature is investigated.


Construction Of Identity; Pieter Pieterse; Manaka Plek Van Die Horings; Postcolonialism; Human And Nature Relationship; Reminiscing Literature; Engela Van Rooyen; Met N Eie Siekspens


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