Restoring the imprisoned community : a study of selected works of H. I. E. and R. R. R. Dhlomo and their role in constructing a sense of African modernity.
This is a comparative study of a selection of the works of H.I.E. and R.R.R. Dhlomo in an attempt to specify the ways in which both writers contributed to constructing a sense of African modernity. While the focus will be on the content of the writing, it will include an analysis of the form and style of the literature, as well as the historical and political setting of the work, and of the authors. By employing the theoretical work of Alain Locke, David Attwell and Tim Couzens, I will address the issue of how Herbert and Rolfes Dhlomo negotiate the issue of a Christian modernity, as well as the ambiguous relationship between tradition and modernity. Another matter that I will focus on is that of the differences and similarities of their writing, in terms of aesthetics and their positions vis-a-vis tradition, modernity and the role of the Black subject, among other topics. Some questions that I will address are whether they are both contributing to an African modernity, and in what sense, and whether Rolfes' work complements that of Herbert, and vice versa. This will be done through a close reading of selected works across a range of mediums, from literary texts such as plays, poems and short stories to the print media. In the Introduction I will outline the key theoretical work and definitions that I will make use of in my research, as well as give brief biographies of the two writers under examination. In Chapter One I will make a close reading of selected works of Herbert Dhlomo, and will attempt to show his changing role in the establishment of a sense of an African modernity. In Chapter Two the focus of my work will be selected prose fiction of Rolfes Dhlomo. I will examine the major themes of these works, and show how they pertain to a sense of an African modernity. In Chapter Three I will examine Rolfes Dhlomo's "R. Roamer Esq." column from the Bantu World. I have selected in particular the year 1941, and I will show how Rolfes Dhlomo used satire and topical issues to help in the creation of a sense of African modernity. The Conclusion deals with the findings of my research on the role that Herbert and Rolfes Dhlomo played in the creation of an African modernity in South Africa.