Original Research

Die aard en funksie van Zoeloe-folklore in Die ding in die vuur van Riana Scheepers

G. H. Taljaard
Literator | Vol 20, No 2 | a464 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v20i2.464 | © 1999 G. H. Taljaard | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 April 1999 | Published: 26 April 1999

About the author(s)

G. H. Taljaard, Departement Afrikaans, Vista, Mamelodi Kompus, Pretoria, South Africa

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The nature and function of Zulu folklore in Die ding in die vuur by Riano Scheepers
This article is concerned with how and why Zulu folklore and oral narrative traditions are absorbed in the literature of the writer Riana Scheepers. Scheepers does not use Zulu culture in her work to make it part of the struggle genre. The question therefore arises: Why does Scheepers, a modern, even postmodern writer, make use of the prehistoric, ancient Zulu oral narrative tradition?

As starting points for this article the following issues are explored: What is the nature of Zulu folklore and how has it been applied in the texts concerned? What is the function of Zulu folklore in Scheepers’ work?

In the oral narrative tradition, the ugogo (grandmother) is the narrator of the story and she tells her stories to the listeners (mostly children) to educate them in a very entertaining way, but also to adjure many social evils, symbolized by a variety of characters, such as animals, monsters and tricksters. Riana Scheepers uses the ugogo to create a story within a story in front of the reader's eyes, in other words, she uses the ugogo to create metatextuality. By writing stories, Scheepers also edifies her readers in an entertaining manner and like the ugogo, she adjures many social evils like violence, poverty, chauvinism and racism. By transforming truth into fiction (fictionalization), she makes the harsh realities of life tolerable and in this way protects herself and her readers against the horrific realities of modern life.


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