Original Research

Waterslangverhale in Afrikaans: die relevansie van mitisiteit

J. Lombard
Literator | Vol 25, No 1 | a248 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v25i1.248 | © 2004 J. Lombard | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 July 2004 | Published: 31 July 2004

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Abstract

Watersnake stories in Afrikaans: The relevance of mythicity

This article focuses on the reworking of the mythological motif of the water snake in Afrikaans literature. Water snake stories form part of the very first examples of Afrikaans texts in written form, whereas since the end of the twentieth century water snake symbolism has received renewed attention. The analyses of a selection of Afrikaans narratives are performed by utilising the concept of mythicity – a concept which can be defined as the conscious intention to probe the numinous dimensions of human existence by means of literature. The delicate balance between numinosity and narrativity is used as basis for the analysis and evaluation of the texts. The mythic potential of a narrative is not always fully realised, owing either to either restricting ideological and moralistic intentions or excessive association regarding the mythological symbol. The following texts are discussed: Jakob Platjie by G.R. von Wielligh (1917), Die eerste lewe van Adamastor by André P. Brink (1988), Meraai van Rolbos by Charlotte de Beer (1989) and Die donker melk van daeraad by George Weideman (1994). The texts are not, however, discussed in chronological order. The relevance of mythicity is specifically illustrated in the Weideman anthology with its positioning of water snake symbolism in a specific historical context whilst simultaneously exploring universal dimensions.

Keywords

Mythicity; Water Snake Stories In Afrikaans

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