South African Writing


Black (and 'Colored') South Africans in Indigenous Languages and English

Thomas Mofolo (wrote in Sotho), Chaka the Zulu, 1925 (trans. 1931)

Peter Abrahams (emigrated/exiled, wrote in English). Tell Freedom, 1954

Ezekiel Mphahlele (emigrated/exiled, wrote in English). The African Image, 1962

Alex La Guma (emigrated/exiled, wrote in English). The Stone Country, 1967.        


White South Africans in Afrikaans and English

Olive Schreiner (wrote in English). The Story of an African Farm,1883.

Alan Paton (wrote in English). Cry, the Beloved Country.

Breyten Breytenbach (writing mostly in Afrikaans). Confessions of an Albino Terrorist, 1985

Athol Fugard (writing in English). Numerous plays, Notebooks 1960-1977.

Nadine Gordimer (writing in English). July's People.

Doris Lessing (writing in English). Summer Before the Dark.


J. M. Coetzee (1940- )


Education: Linguistics, Computer Science at UT Austin. Currently teaches at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.



"The Whites of South Africa participated, in various degrees, actively or passively, in an audacious and well-planned crime against Africa." (From an Interview, 1990)




Dusklands, 1974. (Two Novellas, one of which is 'fake' autobiography)

In the Heart of the Country, 1977. (Modeled on Story of An African Farm)

Waiting for the Barbarians, 1980.

Life and Times of Michael K, 1983. (Winner of Booker Prize)

Foe, 1986. (Postcolonial, Feminist, allegorical re-vision of Robinson Crusoe)

Age of Iron, 1990.

The Master of Petersburg, 1994. (Allegorical, about Dostoevsky)

Disgrace, 2001.




White Writing: On the Culture of Letters, 1988.

Doubling the Point : Essays and Interviews, 1992.

Giving Offense: Essays on Censorship, 1996.



            "Every act of civilization is an act of barbarism."  Walter Benjamin


"Perhaps ... we should abandon a whole tradition that allows us to imagine that knowledge can exist only where power relations are suspended and that knowledge can develop only outside its injunctions, its demands and its interests. Perhaps we should abandon the belief that power makes mad and that, by the same token, the renunciation of power is one of the conditions of knowledge. We should admit rather that power produces knowledge (and not simply by encouraging it because it serves power or by applying it because it is useful); that power and knowledge directly imply one another; that there is no power relation without the correlative constitution of a field of knowledge, nor any knowledge that does not presuppose and constitute at the same time power relations." (Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish, 27)