Francois Bloemhof se Slinger-slinger : 'n leserkundige evaluering met verwysing na Afrikaanslesende tieners
Wiggill, Magrita Nicolene
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In 1996 Francois Bloemhof's teenage fiction, Slinger-slinger, was a prize-winner in the beginners' category of the Sanlam competition for fiction for youth. The book was acclaimed because of the open manner in which the author wrote about sensitive themes such as hetero- and homosexuality, promiscuity, divorce, incest, tense family relationships, and drug and alcohol abuse. The main theme of Slinger-slinger is teenage sexual aspects, such as the sexual awakening and identity of teenagers. In 1998 a sensation was caused in the media as upset parents, teachers and other adults protested against the inclusion of Slinger-slinger in the ATKV's Children's Book Award, category 13-15 years of age. Two conflicting opinions about Slingerslinger could be distinguished: one group was of the opinion that the sexual theme and strong language were not suited for teenage fiction, while the other group was of the opinion that teenagers needed to read about realistic themes to prepare them for the real world. No comments were published about the opinions of the supposed readers, namely teenagers. Steenberg (1988:168-172), Van der Westhuizen (1989:5-7) and Van Zyl (1990:17) wrote that teenagers read to fulfil their needs. Teenagers' reading needs are directly connected to their emotional, cognitive and physical developmental stages. The aim of the study The aim of this study is firstly to evaluate Slinger-slinger according to the elements of the reader study model to determine whether it addresses the reading needs and interests of teenage readers; and secondly to ascertain whether teenagers liked Slinger-slinger. Research procedures and methodology A study of the literature was done in order to determine the reading needs and developmental tasks of teenagers, and the role that teenage fiction can play in their development to adulthood. Together with this background study, an evaluation model, containing story elements viewed from a reader study perspective, as well as criteria for the evaluation of the handling of sexual aspects in teenage fiction, was developed to determine whether Slinger-slinger is successful teenage fiction. In the empirical study the above-mentioned evaluation model for teenage fiction were applied to Slinger-slinger. In the second part of the empirical study a questionnaire was compiled to obtain the opinions of teenage readers about the success of Slinger-slinger as a whole, as well as the success of the handling of the sexual aspects. The questionnaire also served to obtain information about the reading needs of teenage readers in regard to realistic teenage fiction and teenage fiction with a sexual theme. Conclusion It is concluded that Francois Bloemhof's Slinger-slinger succeeds as realistic teenage fiction because it answers to the reading needs of teenage readers. Bloemhof succeeded in his handling of the sexual aspects in Slinger-slinger an in doing so fulfils teenager's reading and information needs, and thus assists them on their way to maturity. The questionnaire ascertained that the teenage readers who participated in the study were of the opinion that Slinger-slinger is a successful and interesting teenage book, and that they would like to read more realistic Afrikaans teenage fiction such as Slinger-slinger.
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