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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Red people and school people from Ntsikana to Mandela: the significance of 'Xhosa literature' in a general history of South African literature
Author:Chapman, MichaelISNI
Periodical:The English Academy Review
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:Xhosa language
literary history
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/10131759385310061
Abstract:This study of Xhosa literature is part of a larger study of the literary history of South Africa, which seeks to cross the barriers of language and race that have seemed unsurmountable in attempts to delineate a single literature from this country. The two earliest recorded Xhosa figures are Ntsikana and Makana, representing the 'school' people (converts to Christianity) and the 'red' people (traditionalist countrymen, red referring to the colour of the blankets worn) respectively. The matter of tradition and modernity has remained a great theme in modern South African literature. The writing and speeches of Xhosa leaders such as Z.K. Matthews, A.C. Jordan and Nelson Mandela have in common that the two forces of the school people and the red people attach an enlightened universalism to a particular African concern. The significance of Xhosa literature in a general history of South African literature is its claim for a vindicated humanism: one marked creatively by both the 'Westernism' of school people and the 'Africanism ' of red people. The article is followed by a response by Leon De Kock (p. 45-55), who disagrees with Chapman's claim that it is possible to write one central South African literary history. Bibliogr., ref.