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Fighting tomorrow : a study of selected Southern African war fiction.

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This research provides an analytical reading of five southern African war novels, in a transnational study of the experience of war as represented by the novels' authors. In order to situate the texts within a transnational tradition of writing about modern warfare, I draw on Paul Fussell's work on the fictional writings of the Second World War in combination with Tobey Herzog's work on the writings of America's war in Vietnam. Through a reading of Sousa Jamba's Patriots and Mark Behr's The Smell of Apples. I illustrate that while these and other southern African war texts can be situated within a transnational tradition of writing about modern warfare, they also extend the tradition by adding new and previously silenced voices. I then turn to a focus on specific experiences of southern African anti-colonial war as represented in Pepetela's Mayombe and Mark Behr's The Smell of Apples. These texts are read in light of Franz Fanon's extensive writings on the nature of colonial violence and with a focus on the role of the victim and perpetrator in violent resistance to colonial oppression. Following this, and keeping with my examination of the experience of war in southern Africa, I read Pepetela's Mayombe. Sousa Jamba's Patriots and Chenjerai Hove's Bones with a view to highlighting their writing of women in times of war. Using the work of Florence Stratton, this section exposes the great difficulties faced by women in times of war as a result of war's complicity in the maintenance of patriarchal societal structures. Finally, I read Chenjerai Hove's Bones and Mia Couto's Under the Frangipani as post-war texts so as to highlight the authors' use of organic images to imagine post-war futures that are not tainted by the experience of war. In examining this topic, I aim to suggest that all of the texts studied show war to be a continuum that results in failed societies. I therefore read the texts as active interventions that seek to break the destructive cycle of the region's wars in the hope of better and constructive futures.


Thesis (M.A.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2005.


War in literature., Violence in literature., War stories., Southern African fiction., Southern African literature--History and criticism., Behr, Mark, 1963- . Smell of apples, The., Couto, Mia, 1955- . Under the frangipani., Hove, Chenjerai, 1956- . Bones., Sousa, Jamba, 1966- . Patriots., Pepetela, 1941- . Mayombe., Theses--English.