Original Research

A new myth regarding the Great Trek: Reinvention of identity in Die pad na skuilhoek [The path toSkuilhoek] by Hans du Plessis.

Marlies Taljard
Literator | Vol 34, No 2 | a417 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v34i2.417 | © 2013 Marlies Taljard | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 January 2013 | Published: 11 November 2013

About the author(s)

Marlies Taljard, School of Languages, Centre for Academic and Professional Language Practice, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa


This article aims to illustrate how Hans du Plessis, in his novel Die pad na Skuilhoek [The path to Skuilhoek] (a place of shelter), subverts the way in which history had been presented in historical novels in the past by addressing social issues that contemporary readers find relevant. The first part of the article deals with the social codes that shape the identities of the main characters and how these identities are relevant in terms of the social framework within which the novel is received. In the second place the focus will shift towards Du Plessis’s representation of cultural and national identities. The question: ‘Who were the Afrikaners at the time of the Great Trek?’ will be answered with reference to these identities. In conclusion it will be pointed out how Du Plessis avoids dated practices of historical interpretation by choosing ecocrticism as the ideological framework for his novel and is, in this way, constructing a new social myth about the Great Trek.


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