|dc.description.abstract||Elsa Joubert has been a prominent author of Afrikaans novels since the 1950's and has
received several important literary prizes. This dissertation is a study of issues of identity
and the experience of the female characters in the following five novels by Joubert: Ons
wag op die Kaptein, Die Wahlerbrug, Bonga, Die swerfiare van Poppie Nongena and Die
reise van lsobelle. It is clear from the analyses of the novels that geographical.
ideological and political matters greatly influence the identity of the characters.
Interpersonal relations within the family and with a loved one, also play a crucial role in
the development of a personal identity.
Theoretical concepts from feminism and female writing, postmodernism, New Journalism
and travel literature as genre are used as points of departure for the discussion of the
novels. A brief overview of Joubert's oeuvre is provided. The main focus of the study is
the way in which the main characters in the selected novels (Leonora, Agnes, Isobelle,
Leo, Lottie, lnacia Maria, Ana-Paula and Poppie) experience a sense of identity. It
becomes clear that there is a close relation between identity and space and therefore it
is necessary to analyse cultural contexts, spatial relations (the country and the continent
as place) and the love of travel in the novels. The lives of all these female characters
are influenced deeply by experiences of love and falling in love often brings about a
radical change in their sense of identity.
Most of the female characters in the selected novels many men from other cultures.
Often they experience an identity crisis as a consequence of being confronted with a
strange culture. They might long for the comfort of what is well-known and loved, but
they also want to accept and conform to the new circumstances as is expected from
them by a beloved. The emotional pain resulting from being tom between their cultural
inclination and love, affect their self-esteem and sense of identity. Initially the love
relationship is a way to develop a new self-contained identity and is part of a personal
rebellion and a quest for freedom. Often however, they have to conform to the norms of
society and of the cultural context. It is remarkable that many of these characters never
experience true love and they are torn between their own cultures and the 'love' for a
man who expects them to conform to a new way of living and a new identity. Therefore
many of these characters experience themselves as outsiders.
The women in Elsa Joubert's novels do not have easy lives. They have to struggle
against odds, they have to make difficult choices, they have little power and fulfillment
often evades them. Joubert, however, does not present a pessimistic view of either the
prospects of women in general or of life in Africa. Die reise van lsobelle ends in a
positive way as the character Leo takes control of her life and makes her own decisions.
She is not a victim, but a liberated woman, a victor. She is the personification of the
new, emancipated woman who will survive and find a place in Africa.||