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'They can never write the landscapes out of their system': engagements with the South African landscape

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This article explores the ways in which the South African author Antjie Krog challenges imperial and patriarchal assumptions about bodies and landscapes in order to enable an embodied engagement with the South African landscape. Post-apartheid South Africa presents particular challenges to white identity and Krog's work recognises that a reconceptualised relationship between her body as a white South African woman and the South African landscape is a necessary part of coming to terms with her place in the new South Africa. The article focuses on Krog's Country of my Skull (1998) and A Change of Tongue (2003). Both these works deal with her narrators' struggle to feel part of South Africa after the atrocities of apartheid that were committed in the name of white South Africans. While sections of these texts have been fictionalised, they also include non-fictional accounts of South Africa's past, specifically through the inclusion of snippets of testimony from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The article identify the challenges that Krog faces when she enters the over-determined discursive field of landscape writing in general and of South African landscape writing in particular and theorise how her embrace of bodies, mutuality and fluidity opens up new possibilities for being a white woman in the landscape of post-apartheid South Africa.
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Keywords: Antjie Krog; South Africa; body; identity; landscape

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: St Augustine College, Linden, Johannesburg, South Africa

Publication date: 2011-02-01

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