Bibliography : South African Literature

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Notify Joe Cambray, Program Committee Chair, or the webmaster if you have suggestions for additional South African titles.  (3 additions made on July 7)

Bibliography on South African Literature

Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, also the short version is worthwhile.

Zakes Mda, Heart of Redness. Not easy to read as it is full of Xhosa terms and names, but it is one of the best attempts to move on from the apartheid themes and into intra Xhosa dilemmas, the agonies of conflicting values within the culture.

From Publishers Weekly :
In Mda's richly suggestive novel, a Westernized African, Camagu, becomes embroiled in a village dispute that has its roots in the 19th century. The war between the amaXhosa and the British in South Africa (known to Westerners as the Zulu Wars) was interrupted by a strange, messianic interlude in which the amaXhosa followed the self-destructive commands of the prophet Nongqawuse and were split between followers of Nongqawuse (Believers) and their opponents (Unbelievers).

Zakes Mda, The Whale Caller. An accessible, allegorical story of the relationship between a man, a woman and a whale; also gives a lively and realistic account of Hermanus, the holiday town from where the whales are best seen from June – November each year.  See

Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, A Human Being Died That Night. An excellent depiction of the author's interviews with Eugene de Kock, commanding officer of apartheid deathsquads, at present serving life sentences.  The author is a very articulate clinical psychologist. (Speaker at IAAP 2007 Congress)

About the author :
Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, a psychologist who grew up in a black South African township, reflects on her interviews with Eugene de Kock, the commanding officer of state-sanctioned death squads under apartheid. Gobodo-Madikizela met with de Kock in Pretoria's maximum-security prison, where he is serving a 212-year sentence for crimes against humanity. In profoundly arresting scenes, Gobodo-Madikizela conveys her struggle with contradictory internal impulses to hold him accountable and to forgive. Ultimately, as she allows us to witness de Kock's extraordinary awakening of conscience, she illuminates the ways in which the encounter compelled her to redefine the value of remorse and the limits of forgiveness.

M. Vera Buhrmann, Living in Two Worlds. A Jungian psychiatrist, who founded the Jungian group in Cape Town, she describes her initiation process to become a Xhosa sangoma. A unique document of transformation seen from traditional and Jungian perspectives.

Antjie Krog, A Change of Tongue. Beautifully written description which "traces the humour of change and pain of belonging through personal narratives..." (Speaker at IAAP 2007 Congress)

In the year following South Africa's first democratic elections, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established to investigate human rights abuses committed under the apartheid regime. Presided over by God's own diplomat, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the first hearings of the commission were held in April 1996. During the following two years of hearings, South Africans were daily exposed to revelations and public testimony about their traumatic past, and--like the world that looked on--continued to discover that the relationship between truth and reconciliation is far more complex than they had ever imagined.

Antjie Krog, Country of my Skull. An account, in story form, of the writer’s experience of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission – forms the basis of the film “In my Country”.

About the Author
Antjie Krog, a prominent South African poet and journalist, led the South African Broadcasting Corporation team that for two years reported daily on the hearings. Extreme forms of torture, abuse, and state violence were the daily fare of the Truth Commission. Many of those involved with its proceedings, including Krog herself, suffered personal stresses--ill health, mental breakdown, dissolution of relationships--in the face of both the relentless onslaught of the truth and the continuing subterfuges of unrelenting perpetrators. Like the Truth Commission itself, Country of My Skull gives central prominence to the power of the testimony of the victims, combining a journalist's reportage skills with the poet's ability to give voice to stories previously unheard. --Rachel Holmes

David Goodman, Fault Lines. Goodman chooses people on either side of the apartheid divide and pairs them, e.g. an ANC activist and the policeman assigned to eliminate him; a white farmer and a black evicted farmer; Wilhelm Verwoerd, Sr. the architect of apartheid and his grandson, Wilhelm Verwoerd Jr., ANC member.  A very readable and informative slant on the immense and profound transition taking place.

Blake Burleson, Jung in Africa. Review by Astrid Berg to be obtained through the link to San Francisco Institute Library Journal May 2006 issue. See

Andre P. Brink, Praying Mantis. A beautifully written historic novel of the first indigenous Khoi missionary at the turn of the last century; riveting reading illustrating the tragedy of missionary zeal.

In a heady mixture of comedy and tragedy, the real and the magical, and immersed in the ancient, earthy, African world of magic and dreams, Praying Mantis explores through the historical figure of Cupido Cockroach the origins of racial tension in the shadowlands between myth and history.

About the Author
André Brink has won South Africa’s most important literary prize, the CAN Award, three times and has twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He is Professor of English at the University of Cape Town.

J.M. Coetzee, Disgrace.  David Lurie is hardly the hero of his own life, or anyone else's. At 52, the protagonist of Disgrace is at the end of his professional and romantic game, and seems to be deliberately courting disaster. Long a professor of modern languages at Cape Town University College, he has recently been relegated to adjunct professor of communications at the same institution....  Disgrace is almost willfully plain. Yet it possesses its own lean, heartbreaking lyricism, most of all in its descriptions of unwanted animals. At the start of the novel, David tells his student that poetry either speaks instantly to the reader--"a flash of revelation and a flash of response"--or not at all. Coetzee's book speaks differently, its layers and sadnesses endlessly unfolding. --Kerry Fried

About the author
He was the first author to be awarded the Booker Prize twice: first for Life & Times of Michael K in 1983, and again for Disgrace in 1999.  On October 2, 2003, it was announced that he was to be the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, making him the fourth African born writer to be so honoured, and the second (as he then was) South African (after Nadine Gordimer).

Nadine Gordimer.  A South African fiction writer well known to readers of The New Yorker. She won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991 and was elected to the Legion of Honour in France earlier this year. She will be speaking on one of the Congress panels. Her most recent title (2007) is Beethoven Was One-Sixteenth Black: And Other Stories. "In this collection of new stories Nadine Gordimer crosses the frontiers of politics, memory, sexuality, and love with the fearless insight that is the hallmark of her writing." (Amazon)
(suggestion contributed by Alan Friend-- IRSJA, AGAP)

Alan Paton--also born in South Africa, he was deeply involved in attempts to end apartheid and was supported financially by van der Post when he faced persecution. No doubt Jung’s name came up on occasion. His important and beautifully written novels include Cry, the Beloved Country, Too Late the Phalarope and Ah, but Your Land is Beautiful!
(suggestion contributed by Alan Friend-- IRSJA, AGAP)

Sir Laurens van der Post.  Born in South Africa, his two books about the Kalahari, The Lost World of the Kalahari and The Heart of the Hunter are familiar to many Jungians. His friendship with Jung was extremely important for both men personally, effecting their writings and thoughts as well. (suggestion contributed by Alan Friend-- IRSJA, AGAP)

Travel Books :

Lonely Planet Cape Town  2002
• 8 colour maps covering the whole city, plus excursion maps
• kloofing, abseiling, cycling, hang-gliding: all the information you need to get your adrenaline pumping
• the best in nightlife, including a special section on gay and lesbian Cape Town
• accommodation options in every style, from converted trains to boutique hotels
• transport information that will have you riding a Rikki like a local

Lonely Planet South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland 
Book Description
Cosmopolitan Cape Town and exuberant Soweto, rugged coastlines and Drakensberg peaks, Winelands and grassy velds - discover the manifold delights of South Africa and the mountain kingdoms of Lesotho and Swaziland with this inspiring guide. Set out on a safari through the region's rainbow of cultures, landscapes, wildlife and sights - let Lonely Planet take you there.

Fodor's Exploring South Africa Fifth edition, March 2006