Original Research

English South African children’s literature and the environment

E.R. Jenkins
Literator | Vol 25, No 3 | a266 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v25i3.266 | © 2004 E.R. Jenkins | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 July 2004 | Published: 31 July 2004

About the author(s)

E.R. Jenkins, Professor Extraordinarius, Department of English Studies, University of South Africa, South Africa

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Historical studies of nature conservation and literary criticism of fiction concerned with the natural environment provide some pointers for the study of South African children’s literature in English. This kind of literature, in turn, has a contribution to make to studies of South African social history and literature. There are English-language stories, poems and picture books for children which reflect human interaction with nature in South Africa since early in the nineteenth century: from hunting, through domestication of the wilds, the development of scientific agriculture, and the changing roles of nature reserves, to modern ecological concern for the entire environment. Until late in the twentieth century the literature usually endorsed the assumption held by whites that they had exclusive ownership of the land and wildlife. In recent years English-language children’s writers and translators of indigenous folktales for children have begun to explore traditional beliefs about and practices in conservation.


Childrens Literature; South Africa English; Conservation Of Environment; National Parks


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Crossref Citations

1. Ecofutures in Africa: Jenny Robson’s Savannah 2116 AD
Elsie Cloete
Children's Literature in Education  vol: 40  issue: 1  first page: 46  year: 2009  
doi: 10.1007/s10583-008-9080-x