Somewhere in the double rainbow : representations of bisexuality in post-apartheid novels.
This thesis examines the middle ground between dual strands of sexuality/gender and race/ethnicity, which I refer to metaphorically as a fluid space of possibility between the rainbows of the pride flag, which celebrates sexual diversity, and the image of the rainbow nation, which celebrates multiculturalism. I discuss ways in which lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues and rights have been discursively treated in the West as well as Africa, most particularly South Africa. I note that a substantial number of novels which appeared after 1994 and have a South African setting or were authored by South Africans, employ the trope of bisexuality. This new preoccupation with bisexuality is parallel to attitudes towards change, the future, and progressive politics, including gender politics. Representations of bisexuality in each of the texts I examine vary; however, together they form a crucial cartography of a liberalization of the imagination in post-apartheid South Africa: a space of anxiety and hope, a space particularly revealing the ongoing evolution of a national identity, and newly part of a global community. Reading bisexuality accurately contributes to the disruption of binaries and illumination of the interstitial associated with the post-apartheid moment in general, and contemporary South African literature and literary criticism in particular. This method of reading, which I call "biopia," allows for a fresh understanding of sexuality, gender, race, citizenship and authority.