From South Africa: New Writing, Photographs, and Art

David Bunn, Author, Reginald Gibbons, Editor, Jane Taylor, Editor University of Chicago Press $57 (0p) ISBN 978-0-226-08035-2
A reprint of a special 1987 issue of the journal TriQuarterly , this carefully compiled and annotated collection testifies to the extraordinary courage fueling protest in South Africa today. Bunn and Taylor, professors and activists in Cape Town, have chosen diverse mediastories, poems, essays and black-and-white photographs, drawings and linocutsto evidence the struggle for cultural and other freedoms against a repressive and censorious regime. Here esthetic and political concerns can be identical; formerly imprisoned poet Keith Gottschalk reports a government regulation: `` `no letter/ containing a poem/ shall be forwarded/ from a prisoner/ to the outside,/ or from outside/ to a prisoner.' '' And each entry invites scrutiny as a political document, as well as admiration as a work of art. The format of the volume inhibits the impact of the illustrations; particularly forceful, however, are Manfred Zylla's allegorical drawings and a photo-essay assembled by Paul Weinberg. The inclusion of reprinted works by and interviews with such established writers as Nadine Gordimer and J. M. Coetzee will attract readers, but much of the volume's excitement and power derives from the representation of less familiar but highly accomplished writers from many cultural, linguistic and political traditions, fulfilling the task set for South Africans by poet Jeremy Cronin: ``To learn how to speak/ With the voices of the land.'' (August)
Reviewed on: 08/05/1988
Release date: 08/01/1988
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