Original Research

Tot in die hart van boosheid: Twee resente Afrikaanse romans oor die Anglo-Boereoorlog

L. Renders
Literator | Vol 20, No 3 | a494 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v20i3.494 | © 1999 L. Renders | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 April 1999 | Published: 26 April 1999

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L. Renders, Vakgroep Talen, Limburgs Universitair Centum, Diepenbeek, Belgium

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Into the heart of evil: Two recent Afrikaans noveis about the Anglo-Boer War
The centenary commemoration of the start of the Anglo-Boer War in 1899 has already inspired the publication of two major Afrikaans novels: Op soek na generaal Mannetjies Mentz by Christoffel Coetzee, and Verliesfontein by Karel Schoeman. These novels should not be considered in isolation. In contemporary Afrikaans literature quite a lot of attention is paid to the Anglo-Boer War. It is, together with the Groot Trek, one of the most significant events in Afrikaner history and has become a very potent symbol of Afrikaner nationalism. The contemporary writer radically debunks the Boer War, thus signifying his absolute rejection of the ideology of the previous generations. This is also the case in Op soek na generaal Mannetjies Mentz and Verliesfontein. Both novels present an unconventional perspective on the war. Op soek na generaal Mannetjies Mentz does not portray a heroic general. On the contrary, Mannetjies Mentz and his commando personify evil. In Verliesfontein the Boer commando not only gave up the village but also all pretence of justice, thereby turning this war episode into their moral Waterloo. Both novels bring a shocking corrective to the traditional representation of the Anglo-Boer War. A s a result they destroy the myths on which Afrikaner nationalism has been built and the Afrikaner is forced to look into his own heart of evil.


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