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"Inside the cavity of shame" : a critical presentation of the New Prison Poetry Project (1998), and the spaces of expression and alterity constructed in the writing of the participants.

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Chapter One will introduce the central area of exploration of this study and establish the main terms of reference and guidelines of the research. Chapter Two will deal with the background and history of the project, and will include a discussion on creative writing as therapy in the context of a prison. Chapter Three will present a critical overview of the project's aims and results, as well as an account of the pedagogical methods employed. It will also analyse the work of three members of the writing group: Vusi Mthembu, Themba Vilakazi and Sibusiso Majola. Chapter Four will outline the socio-political context of my primary research material: a collection of poems written in prison by Bheki Mkhize, Sipho Mkhize and Bhek'themba Mbhele. It will also include a brief biographical account of the three writers, as well as an historical examination of the Seven Days War in Pietermaritzburg in the early nineties. Chapter Five will focus on the three writers' accounts of incarceration, the threat of violence in prison and their resistance through writing to the loss of identity. Chapter Six will deal with the issue of alterity, and the way that the writers represent issues of identity in their poetry, and create spaces of difference and distinction. It will also focus on intertextuality, and analyse the manner in which the writers negotiate the Western tradition of aesthetics in order to stake claim to their own spaces of difference in the prison. Chapter Seven will conclude the study, and will examine contemporary cultural studies theory with specific reference to South Africa. It will also include an overview of the proposition of the research, and elaborate the way forward for a popular culture embracing such findings.


Thesis (M.A.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2004.


Prisoners' writings--South Africa., Prisoners' writings--History and criticism., Creative writing--Therapeutic use., Prisoners' writings, South African., South African poetry (English)--Black authors., Theses--English.