Horisonne : mites oor die moontlike in kontemporêre verhalende tekste van Suid-Afrika en die Nederlandse taalgebied
Van Schalkwyk, Phillippus Lodewikus
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This is a qualitative and comparative study of contemporary myths of the horizon in South Africa and the Dutch language area, with specific reference to the 1990s and the millennium. It has been established that all myths possess a horizon of the possible. Myths function as paradigms in terms of which phenomena and events can be explained, but also as paradigms for narratives. A mythology serves as a narrative matrix within which smaller, particular narratives can be created. The qualitative research method provides for a strategy of maximum variation with regards to the phenomenon under consideration. Therefore various text types are included in this study: media texts, life stories, and artistic narratives. In chapter 2 myths are theoretically defined. Chapter 3 provides an overview of narratives within "non-narrative" discourse: the printed mass media. Subsequently narratives within narratives receive attention, firstly, in chapter 4, myths of the horizon in life stories, and then, in chapter 5, those in nine selected South African literary narratives and nine literary narratives from the Dutch language area, mostly novels. A rainbow design of myths has been weaved and it has been determined that both uniquely South African and global myths are simultaneously active in South Africa. Globally speaking there are indications of a transition from an axial mythology, focussing on the heavenly ideal, to a post-axial mythology which values this earthly reality. The narrative matrix in which stories are rooted nowadays is predominantly a post-axial one. This mythology encompasses other global myths: the myth of Mother Earth, the myth of the network, and the myth of authenticity. Apart from myths associated with specific groups some commonly shared South African myths have been reconstructed, for example the myth of the spectacular (the least probable is the most probable) and the myth of the absolute victim and absolute perpetrator. However, the founding myth of South Africa could be the more ambivalent Jackal and Wolf narrative: it can be traced back to the first encounters between white and indigenous people. It has been established that the Netherlands and Flanders share more or less the same contemporary myths, most notably the global myths of relativity and decline, hut also the myth of the individual ability to construct and survive, and a myth which invokes one to act normally and inconspicuously.
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