Die Olifantjagters van Piet van Rooyen en die Afrika-ruimte : postkolonialisme, ekologie en identiteit
Breytenbach, Catharina Helena
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This dissertation is a theoretical and interpretative exploration of the prominent themes which are developed in the novel Die olifantjagters by Piet van Rooyen. The study focuses on the spatial aspects of the narrative and attempts to indicate how the novel contributes to the contemporary discourse on ecology and eco-critique. In the analysis of spatiality in the novel, special attention is paid to the dimension of Africa and African ecological issues. These include the typical ecological problems of developing countries, the Western presence in Africa and the dilemma of the indigenous people such as the Bushmen in a rapidly changing environment. Centering around the hunt on one of the last great elephants, the novel is deeply concerned with conservation of natural resources and related issues. The multi-cultural social structures of Southern African countries and the problems arising from cultural interaction, form an integral part of the novel and these are discussed extensively in the dissertation. In addition, the identity crises which the characters experience as a result of the processes of cultural interaction and environmental change, are explored against the backdrop of the political transformation of the subcontinent. Issues of identity are concerned with individual as well as group dynamics and almost the characters are thus involved in the redefinition of their own roles and their places in the world. Colonialism has been replaced by postcolonial ism, but power struggles continue to plague previously colonized countries such as South Africa and Namibia. The novel deals with this situation by depicting the conflicting ideas and ideals of people from developed countries who intend to do good and the viewpoints of the indigenous people of Africa. The novel presents a fresh and honest view of the contemporary situation in Southern Africa and thus contributes to the discourse on post-colonialism ecology, cultural change and the ways in which change affects identity, human relationships and the relation between man and Nature. An interpretation of Die olifantjagters therefore needs to take cognisance of Eco criticism, the debate on post colonialism and the dynamics of the power struggle. In conclusion, the contribution of literature to the contemporary ecological discourse is indicated. In spite of the fact that the novel is part of Western discourse in Africa and as such also part of the system of power relations in modern society, it does highlight the "green issue" and this novel will most probably lead to a greater awareness of ecological issues.
- Humanities