A critical analysis of N.F. Mbhele's one-act plays.
This thesis investigates the appropriateness and the accuracy of Mbhele's artistry in writing his one-act plays from Izivunguvungu Zempilo, Ishashalazi and Ezemihla Nayizolo. It considers the formal literary elements which include characterisation, themes, setting, plot, dialogue and style of the writer inclusive of the language that has been used. It also involves different kinds of themes that are revealed by this dramatist in his work. His themes cover all the aspects of life. This includes the exploration of the previous political situation and its effect on the lives of the people, the effect of the Western influences on black South Africans and the people's perspectives on education and religion. The theoretical framework that has been used in this study is the historical-biographical approach. The interview with the author has been very helpful in this regard. The purpose of the interview has been to develop some kind of understanding of the author's own ideas, his early life experiences, his educational background, and the sense of the situation the author writes about. This study consists of six chapters; the first chapter serves as the general introduction for the whole thesis. The author's biographical notes, the identification and the discussion of the research methodology and the definition of some important terms, form part of chapter one. In each chapter, there is an explicit explanation of each formal literary element in relation to Mbhele's one-act plays. Chapter two deals with both characterisation and plot, because plot deals with all the events in a story and the way in which these events are connected. All the events in a story involve the characters. Chapter three investigates the themes that are found in Mbhele's one-act plays, and the ways in which they are revealed. Chapter four consists of the dialogue and style of the writer, which includes his use of the language and the form of address used by the characters to address each other. Chapter five discusses the social background of the characters in relation to what they do in the plays. This includes their given social circumstances, the time and the place which the writer has created for them. Chapter six is the general conclusion for the whole study. It includes the summary, observation and some implications for further research.