African-Language Literature and South African Literature: Literary Merit and Politics in Literature


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Literary studies


This is a comparative study addressing the issue of literary merit in the works of black South African writers writing in African languages and those writing in English. While African-language literature has been accused of being 'childish' and 'immature,' African languages are also known for the lack of critical scholarship (Maake, 2000). This project provides an extensive study of the IsiZulu literature published between the 1950s and 1960s. This literature is compared and contrasted with English literature by black South African writers in the same period. The reason for this comparative analysis is that while African-language literature has been criticised for shuning politics, writings by 'committed' black writers using English has been criticised for its engagement with politics.